How is freedom linked to place?

Posted: July 13th, 2022

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Select a place from the Teaching with Historic Places website that is from 1800- 1875 read the complete lesson and answer all questions to readings,maps, and images in complete sentences and upload the report answers here. Do not do Putting it all together.
Essential Question
How is freedom linked to place?
1. To locate Douglass’s successive homes and describe his life at each.
2. To compare the status of an enslaved person, a prosperous free man, and an American statesman in antebellum America, using Douglass as a case study.
3. To explain the Underground Railroad and describe the risks and obstacles to a successful escape from slavery and adjustments to a life of freedom.
4. To seek examples of injustice in their community and to provide possible solutions.
5. To write a short autobiography.
Sobbing, the small boy watched his grandmother walk away. Under orders, she had just brought the enslaved child to their master’s house at Wye Plantation and left him there. Born ca. 1818 on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Frederick Douglass never knew who his father was and only saw his mother a few times in his life. Brought up by his grandmother in a small cabin, he gradually realized his enslaved condition; but, he did not live it until his grandmother brought him to the home of his master that day.
Like others, Frederick Douglass yearned for freedom. As a teenager, he made his first escape by canoe, but was caught and returned. He finally escaped in 1838, dressed in a sailor’s clothes and using the pass of a free black man. He adopted a new name, married his sweetheart, and began a new life in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
Over time, Douglass developed impressive speaking skills, giving stirring and fiery speeches. He became a traveling lecturer both in the U.S. and abroad. Douglass also became a journalist, founding a newspaper, The North Star. Remembering his own flight from slavery, he aided other freedom seekers. He became a leader who advised Abraham Lincoln. Douglass was appointed a United States marshal in 1877 and soon afterward purchased the Cedar Hill estate in Washington, DC. In 1881, he served as the recorder of deeds for the District of Columbia in 1881. He also served as the U.S. minister to Haiti under President Harrison. Douglass remained an advocate of social justice throughout his life, and died a respected statesman at Cedar Hill in 1895. He was the author of many speeches, articles, and three autobiographies.
By examining Douglass’s life and three of his homes, students will discover how Douglass grew from an enslaved youth to an empowered and empowering statesman.
Lesson Hook/Preview
The use of African Americans for enslaved labor began as early as the 16th century in Spanish Florida. Slavery was legal in the United States until the adoption of the 13th Amendment in December of 1865. Throughout the history of slavery in the United States, escape by enslaved men and women, known as “freedom seekers,” has been a constant form of resistance. These men and women fled their enslavement not only to obtain freedom, but to avoid the physical and emotional pain inflicted from abuse, separation from families, and the hardship of daily life. Their escapes represented a rejection of their imposed status of enslavement.
In the early 19th century, the economies of the North and South began to go in different directions; the South found slavery more profitable while the North did not. As enslaved labor began to decline in the North, northern states abolished the institution and became a refuge for freedom seekers. Individually or in small groups, a small percentage of those enslaved continued to escape, worrying slaveholders who feared other slaves would follow their example. The Nat Turner Revolt in Virginia (1831) frightened slaveholders who then tightened restrictions on both free and enslaved blacks. On the eve of the Civil War in 1860, southerners continued to enslave about 4,000,000 African Americans.
Determined to attain their freedom, the enslaved escaped however they could. Freedom seekers began going to free settlements in mountains or swamps, or in Spanish Florida, where Native American communities welcomed them. Routes for evading slave catchers included going overland or by water. Disguises and forgeries of travel papers were a part of their strategies. Freedom seekers passed as free, blending into free black populations in large cities. Some even mailed themselves to Philadelphia in boxes or stowed away on ships.
People of conscience aided freedom seekers in need, forming black and white networks and vigilance committees. Biracial cooperation took place with the assistance of various religious groups (to name a few, Quakers, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Unitarians). People who had moral objections to slavery and were politicized by their beliefs became known as abolitionists. Abolitionists were not afraid to use all means of communication to sway public opinion. William Lloyd Garrison started the first abolitionist newspaper, The Liberator, in 1831, and antislavery societies organized lectures and petitions. While the abolitionists worked to convince their communities about the evils of slavery, the Fugitive Slave Law Act of 1850 granted southern slave owners more legal reach into the North. Life was better for freedom seekers in the North but threat of lawful recapture meant they were not entirely free. Some runaways were driven to run to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, or Europe.
Throughout the 1850s, tension over slavery in the new western territories and states became an increasingly contentious political issue. In 1859, John Brown raided Harper’s Ferry to take control of the armory to arm the enslaved to free the South. With this event, the country passed the point of compromise. For the South, Lincoln’s election in 1860 proclaimed the North’s unwillingness to compromise on the expansion of slavery. Lincoln’s opposition to the institution made it clear that he would not support southern arguments. South Carolina became the first state to secede. It led the attack on the United States at Fort Sumter in 1861, starting the Civil War. During the war, Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation enabled African Americans, enslaved and free, to enlist to fight.
Getting Started Prompt
Map: Orients the students and encourages them to think about how place affects culture and society
Readings: Primary and secondary source readings provide content and spark critical analysis.
Visual Evidence: Students critique and analyze visual evidence to tackle questions and support their own theories about the subject.
Optional post-lesson activities: If time allows, these will deepen your students’ engagement with the topics and themes introduced in the lesson, and to help them develop essential skills.
13th Amendment
Nat Turner Revolt
John Brown Raid at Harper’s Ferry
Fugitive Slave Law

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