Matters of Education

Learning Happens Everywhere

Arguments For and Against Slavery

Length of Time:   60-90 Minutes


To modern sensibilities, slavery in the antebellum period is more than harsh. It is almost inconceivable that so many Americans supported this brutal system of forced labor. Close inspection reveals how few contemporaries believed that it should be abolished outright.

Essential Questions

How were individuals and groups able to defend and oppose slavery in Antebellum America?

Common Core Standards

English/Language Arts Standards: Anchor Standards: CCRS Reading

Key Ideas and Details

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.1 Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.2 Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.


Craft and Structure

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.4 Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.5 Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.


English/Language Arts: History and Social Studies, 9-12

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.8 Evaluate an author’s premises, claims, and evidence by corroborating or challenging them with other information.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.9 Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.

Content Standards