the proslavery and antislavery ideologies of 19th-century Americans
History 100 Research Paper: Slavery in 19th Century America
100 points possible
DUE: July 10th by 11:59 PM. No late assignments accepted.
Submission: Online via Safeassign (Blackboard)
Time: Must be submitted before 11:59 PM PST.
Computer/internet issues will not be a valid excuse for not submitting. Please plan accordingly.
Length: (5) pages plus your Works Cited page (6 pages TOTAL)
“The [American]Revolution exposed the continuing tension between the nation’s commitment to liberty
and its simultaneous commitment to slavery. To people in our time, and even to some people in
Revolutionary times, it seems obvious that liberty and slavery are incompatible with each other. But to
many white Americans in the eighteenth century, especially in the South, that did not seem obvious.
Many white Southerners believed, in fact, that enslaving Africans–whom they considered inferior and unfit
for citizenship–was the best way to ensure liberty for white people. They feared without slaves, it would
be necessary to recruit a servile white workforce in the South, and that the resulting inequalities would
jeopardize the survival of liberty. One of the ironies of the American Revolution was that many white
Americans were fighting both to secure freedom for themselves and to preserve slavery for others.”
– Brinkley, 117, The Unfinished Nation
Your goal in this assignment is to investigate why this system of slavery was so inherent to
American life in the 19th century. Many historians agree that slavery was the primary factor that led to
the Civil War. With this in mind we should consider the opposing forces in this conversation about slavery
in the United States. Compare the views of both those promoting the maintenance and expansion of
slavery with those who fought to end it.
Student Learning Outcome:
Students will write a research paper that will demonstrate their collegiate command of research, critical
thinking, content development, coherence, and sentence structure.
Compare both the proslavery and antislavery ideologies of 19th-century Americans. Why did some
advocate for the maintenance and expansion of what was once called the “peculiar institution” of slavery?
Who opposed slavery and what was their story?
Timeline for this assignment: Approximately 1800 – 1865
Provide: dates, timelines, locations (cities/states), names of individuals (e.g. John Brown).
Use both Primary Sources: See the Primary Source Investigator link below:
and Secondary sources (e.g, Walter Johnson’s Soul by Soul: Life inside the Antebellum Slave Market)
1. Provide a Thesis Statement (20 Points)
This should be provided in the introduction of your paper and should clearly state your
response to the research question/objective:
From the Southwestern College Library Handout The Research Paper Made Easy:
“Step 3: Develop a thesis.
The thesis is a single statement that says what your subject will be and the direction your research
will be taking. The thesis helps you stay on track. Remember the thesis is not cast in stone; it can
be changed if and when you need to. Also, remember that you not need bring in anything except
what is stated in the thesis statement, which is the paper’s guide.”
2. Content (35 Points)
Provide and Introduction, Body and Conclusion for your assignment.
In the introduction provide the reader a clear picture of what you have
concluded regarding the research objective. This is an opportunity to preface
what the writer will be accomplishing in the assignment.
If I only read your introduction and conclusion would I have a good
understanding of what you presented in your research paper?
In the body of the assignment explain in great detail what the arguments for and
against slavery, and the views held by each group, are. The writer will provide
examples from their sources that illustrate the opposing viewpoints on slavery
during the 19th century. These should be organized carefully to reflect the
writer’s knowledge and familiarity with the topic and their sources.
What are the sources telling you about this history? How can you explain to the
reader of your paper what each source is “saying”?
Do they provide similar or different perspectives?
3. Citations, Use of Sources and MLA Format: (30 Points)
When writing for your college courses, or in any academic setting, providing
correct citations, references, and meeting particular writing formats is
Provide a minimum of (12) citations from your sources. These can range
in length from (1) sentence to (1) paragraph or longer. Use large “block quotes”
sparingly in your assignment to allow you, the writer, sufficient space to detail your
conclusions regarding the research topic.
citations must follow MLA format. Your works cited page must meet
MLA format (alphabetized, spacing, punctuation, etc.)
Please see the PSI Writing and Research Center in the “Toolbox” found in the
CONTENT Section of our BB page for more information on citations and
4. Writing Mechanics and Grammar: (15 Points)
Not only what you say, but how you say it, is important. We all come from
different backgrounds in regards to our research and writing capabilities. The
mechanics and grammar of the research paper are important and, in many cases,
mistakes can be easily avoided.
Capitalization, punctuation, and the use of conjunctions, prepositions, and
articles (the, an, a) are all important to writing. In order to assure that you are
meeting the correct guidelines for mechanics and grammar visit the writing
center on campus, have a friend or peer proof-read your assignment, or contact
me with any questions you might have.
Paper Requirements – 100 POINTS POSSIBLE
? Use a minimum of (3) primary and (3) secondary sources that relate directly to the
? You already have one secondary source in your possession: The Unfinished Nation
? Online Sources are limited to:
? sites that end with .edu, .gov, .org are accepted.
? NO .com websites (send me a link if you locate a scholarly source that ends in .com)
? Do not use wikipedia as a source.
? For a helpful overview of evaluating online sources:
? Clearly differentiate between your “voice” as the author and the “voices” of your sources. Are you
making this unique statement or are you reinforcing the ideas presented in the sources you are
? Provide structured paragraphs that include transition sentences, leading the reader from
? For information on primary and secondary sources, research, and writing see the “Toolbox” folder
in the CONTENT section of our Blackboard page.