Gradual Emancipation of Slaves After 1780

This short video examines the gradual but limited emancipation that occurred before the Constitutional Convention. In Northern states, fewer slaves and less racist sentiment enabled states such as Pennsylvania to pass gradual emancipation laws while even some Southern states, where racism was more entrenched, made it easier for slaves to be freed. However, as Professor John Kaminiski notes, the great political leaders of the South took no bold actions to free their slaves.

  • Resource Type: Video
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 10, 11, 12

Emancipation of Slaves Under the Constitution

This short video illustrates the approaches taken by the various states towards freeing their slaves. Pennsylvania and New York were among the first to provide a path to gradual emancipation, due in large part to the influence of Quakers and Methodists. Professor John Kaminiski discusses the various criteria for manumission: the age of the individual; what percentage of the individual’s racial background was African-American; and how well prepared the individual was for life as a freeman.

  • Resource Type: Video
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 10, 11, 12

Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation eLesson

To remember Abraham Lincoln, who died 148 years ago on April 15, 1865, this week’s eLesson will focus on the Emancipation Proclamation. Presidents Buchanan, Lincoln, and Johnson believed that the Constitution protected the institution of slavery. Lincoln came to the conclusion that, in order to preserve the Constitution and the Union it created, he must apply a new understanding of the principles on which the nation was built.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Federal Government
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

The Civil War (CKHG Unit)

This unit explores the political, historical and cultural causes and consequences before, during and after the Civil War, one of our nation’s greatest crises. Across 24 lessons, students engage with the material through primary sources and consider the influence of abolitionists and other intellectual as well as military and political figures.

  • Resource Type: Assessments, Books, Descriptive Text, Lesson Plans, Media, Modules (Teaching Unit), Primary Sources, Timelines
  • Subject: History
  • Grades: 5, 6, 7, 8

“I Have a Dream” Speech, Martin Luther King, Jr.

On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his address on his vision for the future of America regarding race equality. The speech was to emphasize the importance of this movement. 100 years before, Lincoln gave his Emancipation speech and 200 years earlier the Declaration of Independence was signed. Now it is time to end oppression in America for good.

  • Resource Type: Primary Sources
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

The Social and Intellectual Legacy of the American Revolution

“We can see with other eyes; we hear with other ears; and think with other thoughts, than those we formerly used. We are now really another people, and cannot again go back to ignorance and prejudice. The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark.” This is how Tom Paine, the consummate pamphleteer of the American Revolutionary cause, reflected on how the long war with Great Britain pushed Americans into a concurrent search for a new and durable society based on ideas of liberty & equality.

  • Resource Type: Essays, Primary Sources
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

National Identity and Why It Matters: A Lesson Plan

Why do people need national identity and attachment? Explore the meaning and significance of national identity in general and American identity in particular as editors Amy A. Kass and Leon R. Kass discuss Edward Everett Hale’s story, “A Man without a Country,” with Wilfred M. McClay (University of Oklahoma). Includes a discussion guide and model conversation.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Primary Sources, Video
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Slavery and the American Founding: The “Inconsistency Not to Be Excused”

John Jay wrote in 1786, “To contend for our own liberty, and to deny that blessing to others, involves an inconsistency not to be excused.” This lesson will focus on the views of the founders on slavery as expressed in primary documents from their own time and in their own words.

  • Resource Type: Essays, Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit), Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12