Abolitionist Movement Teacher Resources
Abolitionists, anti-slavery advocates, and free-soilers are often clumped together in a study of the Abolitionist Movement; however, there were significant differences in their attitudes toward slavery and the approaches used by members of these groups. Abolitionists favored the immediate abolition of slavery in the United States, a practice that was in part, acknowledged by the Three-fifths Clause in the Constitution (covered quite well in this lesson).
Use this video to introduce leaders of the Abolitionist Movement like Harriet Beecher Stowe, who argued for the immediate emancipation of all slaves. Galvanized by the passing of the Fugitive Slave Act (see this high school activity) Beecher used the power of her writing to energize the Abolitionist Movement. Learners can try to uncover her motives in a lesson using primary sources. Uncle Tom’s Cabin, brought the attention of the public to the institution of slavery. Learners can make their own book jacket for the novel here.
The stark, first-person accounts of former slaves Frederick Douglass (learn more about him in this activity) and Sojourner Truth (reading comprehension worksheet found here) were also instrumental in propelling the Abolitionist Movement, while John Brown’s (check out this fun historical detective handout) actions flamed the fires of controversy over the approach to ending slavery. The work of these abolitionists and philosophers like Henry David Thoreau ultimately lead to the Emancipation Proclamation and the passing of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution.