Tennesseans in the Abolitionist Movement

The goal of this lesson is to teach students how to closely examine primary sources in order to learn about and understand the contributions made to abolish slavery. This lesson looks at abolitionist newspapers, The Emancipator and The Liberator, as well as people such as Frances Wright, Harriet Tubman, and Frederick Douglass.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
Analyze the impact of the various leaders of the abolitionist movement, including John Brown and armed resistance; Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad; William...
Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
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Learning objectives: 

In this course of the lesson, students will:

  • Understand the effect people like Harriet Tubman, Fredrick Douglass, Elihu Embree and others had on the abolitionist movement.
  • Understand the different methods of protest like armed resistance, the creation of abolitionist newspapers, the writing of novels, and the development of the Underground Railroad.
Essential and guiding questions: 
  • How are The Emancipator and The Liberator alike? Different? Which of these two publications do you think was more effective?    
  • How did people like Harriet Tubman, John Brown, Elihu Embree, William Lloyd Garrison, and Frances Wright contribute to the abolitionist movement?    
  • Which person’s method was more successful? Why do you think that?

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 

Exit ticket: Have the students write whose method for abolition they would have followed.

Helpful Hints

Materials Needed:

  • Copies of The Liberator (provided by fair-use.org)
  • Copies of The Emancipator (included)
  • Printeed copies of the linked primary sources in this lesson plan
  • A-B-C chart