This essay asks you to take a hard (and painful) look at “the terrible transformation”—the historical
origin and evolution of slavery in the United States.
1) Read The American Yawp (Chapters 2-4)
2) Learn more about the history of Slavery in the United States
3) Watch Episode 1 “The Terrible Transformation: Africans in America: America’s Journey
through Slavery” (For more resources, go here PBS)
4) Learn more about Anthony Johnson and John Casor in 17th century Virginia.
5) Respond to this prompt:
Describe the differences between indentured servitude and slavery. What were the early English
customs and laws with regard to the practices and how did those practices evolve in early America?
Why are the historical examples of Anthony Johnson and John Casor important to the story? Was
there a moment in American history when slavery could not or would not have existed? If so, what
explains the establishment and perpetuation of the institution? How do we reconcile the American
principle of freedom with the ugly history of slavery?
To receive full credit for Historical Thinking Assignment #2, you must refer to at least three (3) of the
primary source documents in the Reader of The American Yawp.
Your essay should be approximately 750 words (3 pages),
double-spaced and is due on Saturday, June 16, by 11:55 PM.
History gives us a lot to think about.

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