Masters And Slaves: Describe the institution of slavery and how it functioned as a labor system


By the end of this session, students will be able to:

· Describe the institution of slavery and how it functioned as a labor system.

· Describe slave culture and how it helped slaves bear up under the pressure of slavery.

· Discuss the ways slaves resisted the institution of bondage.

· Describe the class structure of the South and its relationship to slavery.

· Describe the various ways southern whites defended slavery.


Read Chapter 13 in American: Past and Present by Robert Divine and view the chapter 13 PowerPoint.


Helpful Web sites:

Underground Railroad 


A. Read Chapter 13 in American: Past and Present by Robert Divine and answer the following questions.

1. How did the South’s reliance on a slave labor system restrict its ability to diversify its economy?

2. What was the impact of slavery on the economic and social systems of the south?

3. Compare and contrast the economic systems of the upper and lower south.

4. Why weren’t there more slave revolts and rebellions in the south?

5. In what ways did slaves demonstrate their opposition to the institution of slavery?

B. Read the hyperlinked article and respond to one of the questions.

Nat Turner and His Insurrection 

-According to the author, what is the historical significance Nat Turner?

C. Movie Review Assignment

View the movie Amistad and answer the questions listed below. There are no real right answers. Rather I want to see how you interpret various portions of the movie.

1. Describe the historical relevance of the following characters of the movie. (Joadson, Van Buren, Quincy Adams, Tappan)

2. To what extent is political self-interest motivating the defenders of the kidnapped Africans?

3. The debate in court does not focus on the morality of the institution of slavery but of property. Describe the various positions in the court house.

4. In what way is the battle for the freedom of the kidnapped Africans a microcosm of the growing sectional conflict in America?

5. What issues drive John C. Calhoun’s monologue at dinner?

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