"Abraham Lincoln and Slavery"
Commonly a learning activity like this is planned to
be done chronologically. In studying Abraham Lincoln and
his feelings and response toward slavery could be done in a
totally different way than chronologically. We all know
that Abraham was born in Kentucky, and then moved to
Indiana. He lived in Kentucky with his Baptist father,
Thomas Lincoln, who adamantly hated the institution of
slavery. Hating slavery had nothing to do with
relationships with black people. The slaves in Kentucky
were located mostly on large commercial plantations.
Thomas Lincoln was a sustenance farmer. Sustenance farmers
grew crops and raised live stalk for consumption, not sale.
Thomas Lincoln thought slavery was an immoral
institution. His son, Abraham, would witness slaves on the
pathway near the Lincoln home, being transported back and
forth by slave owners. Abraham would hear "great"
discussions of the evilness of slavery between his father
and other visitors of their farm.
Thomas and Nancy Lincoln would leave Kentucky and
move to the Northern state of Indiana to get away from
slavery and other problems in Kentucky.
We all know that Abraham, as a young man, travelled
to New Orleans twice to deliver products on a flatboat from
Indiana and later Illinois. He would personally witness
slave auctions, and see slavery in-action in the south.
The slavery projects will
consider a set of questions,
listed below. In addition, there is a
set of "tasks,"
to help learn more about Abraham Lincoln and the problem of
Abraham Lincoln considers how to end slavery
"Abraham Lincoln is often referred to as "The Great
Emancipator" and yet, he did not publicly call for
emancipation throughout his entire life. Lincoln began his
public career by claiming that he was "antislavery" --
against slavery's expansion but not calling for immediate
emancipation. He was not an active "Abolitionist."
However, the man who began as "antislavery" eventually
issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed all slaves
in those states that were in rebellion. He vigorously
supported the 13th Amendment which abolished slavery
throughout the United States, and, in the last speech of his
life, he recommended extending the vote to African
Americans." Visit the Henry Ford video covering America's
history of liberty.
A SUMMARY OF LINCOLN'S VIEWS CONCERNING SLAVERY:
Lincoln wasnít an abolitionist.
Lincoln didnít believe blacks should have the same rights as
Lincoln thought colonization could resolve the issue of
Emancipation was a military policy.
The Emancipation Proclamation didnít actually free all of
of Lincoln are listed at
Lincoln NPS Site
Debates of 1858 Activity and Resource Site
about Abraham Lincoln's Pre-Civil War views on slavery.
from Frederick Douglas to Abraham Lincoln
concerning the possible emancipation of slaves
Slavery & the Making of America
19th Century Southern Viewpoint for Slavery (by owners)
Contraband during the Civil
Go Here to learn about these topics,
and work on four learning activities
(Read the Excerpt from Abraham Lincoln's "House
This famous speech, given in 1858 encompasses
Lincoln's political solution on the issue of
slavery, including causes of national division
and what will have to happen to end it all.
Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Convention.
If we could first know where we are, and
whither we are tending, we could then
better judge what to do, and how
to do it.
We are now far into the fifth year, since
was initiated, with the avowed object,
and confident promise, of putting an end
Under the operation of that policy, that
agitation has not only, not ceased, but
In my opinion, it will not cease,
shall have been reached, and passed.
"A house divided against itself cannot stand."
I believe this government cannot endure,
permanently half slave and half free.
I do not expect the Union to be
-- I do not expect the house to
-- but I do expect it will cease to be
It will become all one thing or all
Either the opponents of slavery, will
the further spread of it, and place it where the
public mind shall rest in the belief that it is
in the course of ultimate extinction; or its
advocates will push it forward, till it
shall become alike lawful in all the
States, old as well as new --
North as well as South.
Have we no
to the latter
Read the articles and passages as presented in
the slavery activities. Consider the questions
Take notes as answers for the questions are
to record your answers.
Start with a concept called
"The Slave Power Conspiracy,"
concerning the pre 1870's Southern viewpoint and
Northern counter-viewpoint of the issue of
slavery. and Northern counter-viewpoint of the
issue of slavery.
Study Abraham Lincoln's politics concerning
slavery in our country, and particularly his
statements from the Debates with Stephen Douglas
Click the National Park Service Article on
"Lincoln and Slavery."
Study where and how Abraham Lincoln got his
philosophy and ideas about the "final solution
of the problem of slavery--its' gradual
Click the National Park Service on "Emancipation
and the Quest for Freedom."
Study how Abraham Lincoln's early life helped to
formulate his attitudes and beliefs about
Click the articles on Lincoln's attitude toward
slavery in the early years.
Study President Abraham Lincoln's evolving
during his Presidency concerning slavery.
Go to the
about "Allies for Emancipation? Black
Abolitionists and Abraham Lincoln."
ROLE PLAYING-- A CLASSROOM DEBATE ACTIVITY--
SLAVERY, PRO- AND CON-
It is difficult now to understand why slavery
was ever allowed in the United States. Why did
it grow and become so important in the South?
Why did some Northerners fear the ending of
slavery in the South? What did President
Lincoln do about slavery?
Through reading the selected readings and quotes
from Abraham Lincoln, throughout his career, you
can see a change in his attitude and feelings
about slavery/equality/individual rights.
It is difficult to understand how the 1850's
political leader, even Abraham Lincoln, could
think the way they did. America was in a
totally different value system in the mid
Slavery was a very important economic issue in
the South, especially after development of the
Cotton Gin. The slave was basically treated as
an investment, a tool, and a work-horse (not
human). The Southern politicians were staunch
about protecting the right to own slaves.
on the role
of a U.S. President, a Southern plantation
owner/farmer with slaves, a northerner, a poor
white farmer in the north and border states, and
make decisions where you stand on the subject of
SLAVERY or ABOLITIONIST.
Study your role choice
on the issues of expansion of slavery into the
new Territories, later to be states and the
morality aspect, taking the side of your role
Complete the table below for the role you chose.
Be careful to not mix opposing thoughts and
opinions in your responses. In a debate, you
often will get the side you don't agree with,
but have to support it anyway. You can find
information on the Resource List given earlier.
Use the resources listed in the Introduction &
PBS Slave Memories Timeline
A. 1626-- What
happened at Jamestown (New Netherlands)?
B. 1641-- What law
was passed concerning run-away slaves?
C. 1663-- What did
a group of slaves do?
D. 1682-- What
declaration did Virginia set-forth concerning
E. 1708-- What had
happened to South Carolina's population numbers?
F. 1696-- What
happened to the slave business in New England?
G. 1733-- what did
the Quaker, Elihu Coleman publish?
H. 1770-- Crispus
Attucks, died for what reason?
I. 1773-- Slaves
started this, as a first for them. What was it?
J. 1784-- Thomas
Jefferson tried to get a proposal through
concerning slavery, but failed. What was the
K. 1788-- The U.S.
Constitution considers slavery and the 3/5th's
clause. What is the 3/5th's clause?
1819-- What happened to the slave trading
1831-- A runaway slave safety program gets it's
name. What is this program?
N.1842-- An old 1792 slave law was brought up in
(Prigg v. Pennsylvania), and became the law of
the land. What was that law?
1848-- A new Anti-slavery group organizes a
political party. What was the name of the party,
and what was their major platform (thing they
1857-- Slavery proponents gain much in a Supreme
Court Decision. What was the case, and what did
it say about slavery in the territories?
1860-- How many slaves were there in the U.S.?
A new President is elected. Who was he?
1861-- What war starts, and where?
1862-- Blacks were now allowed to obtain "free
land" from what Act?
The first Black (Colored) unit was organized to
fight in the Civil War. What was the name of
this famous unit?
1865-- A constitutional amendment is passed to
abolish slavery. What number is the amendment.
Slavery ended in 1865.
INDIVIDUAL NORTHERN STATES WITH HARSH "BLACK
CODES," PARTICULARLY ILLINOIS
to the State Codes Site to learn of the effect
of these harsh laws.
Click Here to enter the "Black Code of Illinois
Picture Study Puzzle."
This TASK will have
multiple reading and "question/answer"
A. Why didn't Abraham Lincoln become an
Why did President refuse to end slavery by any
means other than a Constitutional Amendment? 3.
Why did President Lincoln declare that slavery
was not the reason for the Civil War?
C. Why did he hold back on emancipating the
slaves of the Confederate States?
D. Why did he think he could organize a project
to send free slaves to South America or Liberia
E. Why did Abraham say, in 1858, at Charleston,
Illinois that there could not be equality of
blacks and whites?
F. Why did free blacks in Richmond, Virginia,
after Richmond fell call President Abraham
Lincoln "Father Abraham?