Slavery and the United States Constitution

Slavery was an integral part of the development of America. It was an economic engine that fueled an early American economy. It was an evil exploitation of people that spawned a system of racism and exploitation that, to this day, remains woven into the fabric of American society. At the time of the framing of the United State Constitution, slavery was a challenge to the meaning of democracy in a country that was conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Explore topics of how the “peculiar institution” of slavery influenced the shaping of American democracy.

TypeTitleNotesDescriptionCategory
VideoTraces of the TradeCopies of this film can be borrowed from YCCS.In Traces of the Trade, Producer/Director Katrina Browne tells the story of her forefathers, the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history. There is an online facilitator’s guide with discussion questions and links to other resources.Slavery and the U.S. Constitution
VideoCopies of this film can be borrowed from YCCS.Circle Unbroken – A Gullah Journey from Africa to AmericaSlavery and the U.S. Constitution
Reading5 Key Compromises of the Constitutional ConventionConstitutional ConventionSlavery and the U.S. Constitution
VideoFrederick DouglassHow Frederick Douglass escaped from slavery to become one of the most respected and effective abolitionist leaders.Slavery and the U.S. Constitution
ReadingPresidents Who Owned SlavesPresidents Who Owned SlavesSlavery and the U.S. Constitution
LessonServitude and RebellionQuestions and teaching ideas for Chapter 3 of Voices of a People’s History of the United States on the role and dissent of indentured servants in American colonial history.Slavery and the U.S. Constitution
LessonSlavery and the Making of America –Teacher’s guideAnchor Lesson: The K-12 Learning portion of the SLAVERY AND THE MAKING OF AMERICA Web site was developed in close concert with American History and Social Studies teachers. This section of the site -- with historical fiction for grades 3-12, Lesson Plans for ages 9-18, primary sources, and a Virtual Museum with contributions from museums across the country and exhibits curated by students -- offers resources we hope you will find valuable for your classrooms.Slavery and the U.S. Constitution
Reading/AudioThe Second Amendment Was Ratified to Preserve SlaverySecond Amendment Slavery and the U.S. Constitution
LessonAfricans in America:
America's Journey Through Slavery
The Africans in America Web site is a companion to Africans in America, a six-hour public television series. The Web site chronicles the history of racial slavery in the United States -- from the start of the Atlantic slave trade in the 16th century to the end of the American Civil War in 1865 -- and explores the central paradox that is at the heart of the American story: a democracy that declared all men equal but enslaved and oppressed one people to provide independence and prosperity to another. For each era, you'll find a historical Narrative, a Resource Bank of images, documents, stories, biographies, and commentaries, and a Teacher's Guide for using the content of the Web site and television series in U.S. history courses.Slavery and the U.S. Constitution
ReadingConstitutional Topic: SlaveryThe Constitutional Topics are presented to delve deeper into the issue of slavery and the constitution. Slavery and the U.S. Constitution
VideoFrederick Douglass: “The Meaning of July Fourth for the NegroThe Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro,” a speech given by Frederick Douglass in Rochester, NY on July 5, 1852, is read by Danny Glover.Slavery and the U.S. Constitution
LessonAbout Slavery by Another Name in the ClassroomCopies of this film can be borrowed from YCCS.Slavery by Another NameSlavery and the U.S. Constitution