Slave Masters

For the final assignment please write a four (or more) page paper on slavery in the nineteenth century. The topic choices are given below. The paper is due December 22.

The Douglass and Jacobs narratives are central to each topic. You must quote one or both in your essay, and from at least three of the readings in addition to Douglass and/or Jacobs (two if you quote from both Douglass and Jacobs).

Take your time. Make sure you understand the assignment. Gather your material. Organize your thinking. Number the pages. If you need any advice or assistance, just ask. I’ll be glad to help. Submit the essay on Blackboard.

I always have a lot of fun teaching and getting to know my students. Even though we are forced to be remote, this semester has been enjoyable and it has been a pleasure to have had each of you in the class. I wish you all the best!! Enjoy the holiday season!!

The Final Assignment

Choose one


Choice A:

Using the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, the chapters I selected from Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, the Blassingame article on “Slave Culture,” the Johnson articles, and others, discuss some of the many ways slaves resisted slavery, created a self, and created an “underground” culture as well. Remember you must use three sources in your paper in addition to Douglass and/or Jacobs.


Choice B:

Douglass’s Narrative is an American success story. Discuss some of the obstacles Douglass had to overcome. If you wish, you could compare his story to Jacobs’s story. You will want to use some of the readings (like the Genovese piece on “Chivalric Slave Masters” or Gomes on religion and slavery) to talk about how deeply entrenched racism was in American society. Remember to cite at least three of the texts in addition to Douglass.


Choice C:

Using Douglass, Jacobs, Genovese, Chesnut, and Frederickson (maybe Jefferson and others), discuss the effects of slavery on whites. Remember to cite at least three of the texts in addition to Douglass and/or Jacobs.


Choice D:

Southerners (and some Northerners too) defended slavery. “The Planter’s Northern Bride” is a fine example of this defense. Using the pieces by supporters of slavery, and the Frederickson, Gomes, and Genovese articles, discuss the defense of slavery. Compare what the defenders of slavery claim with the work of Douglass and Jacobs. Remember to cite at least three of the texts in addition to Douglass and/or Jacobs.


Choice E:

Johnson describes how slaves were commodities in a capitalist market society. Using his work, and Douglass and Jacobs, discuss how race was marked and how humans were turned into commodities.

Remember to cite at least three of the texts in addition to Douglass and/or Jacobs.

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