The “Peculiar Institution” in the American South  

The “Peculiar Institution” in the American South


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  1. To understand the social, economic, and political structures and institutions of the American south, and determining the factors that shaped this region.
  2. To examine the detailed nature of life under slavery, including a developed slave culture.
  3. To study the arguments used by slave owners to justify the “peculiar institution” of slavery (in preparation for next’s week examination of the abolitionist arguments against slavery).
  4. To explore methods of resistance to slavery.


Assignment Instructions

FIRST:Watch the Crash Course US History video below:


READ: Chapter 11 of the textbook, Eric Foner’s Give Me Liberty. Skim through when you get a chance, or know that the information is there when you need to reference it.


FINALLY: Read the linked primary source document collection in the order and complete the writing assignment. 

This week’s assignment is to complete a DBQ, or document-based question. The document attached in the order will take you to a Word Document with a few questions to be answered using at least four of the documents featured in the assignment document. Written responses must be one page, double-spaced (about 250-300 words). 

There are no formal citations required, but I am looking that you reference and draw examples/primary source evidence from the documents. Your citations can, for this week only, look like this:

One pillar of slave culture was Christianity, which promised its practitioners peace and rest after a lifetime of enslavement and pain. The popular funerary spiritual “Roll, Jordan, Roll” references the Biblical river Jordan as a symbol for death, the most common escape from a lifetime of slavery and oppression (Document 17).


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