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Constitutional Connection: Slavery and the Constitution

20 min

To provide an introductory overview of the unit, show the six-minute thematic documentary, All Other Persons: Slavery, the Constitution, and the Presidency, available at www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmMOvLCCO0c.

A. Distribute Handout A: Slavery and the Constitution and The United States Constitution.

B. Divide students into pairs and assign an equal number of pairs to analyze the constitutional citations.

C. After allowing a few minutes for students to discuss in their pairs, conduct a large group discussion to fill in the blanks on the chart. Use an overhead to record responses. See the Answer Key for suggested responses.

D. Explain to students that individuals throughout history, including the Founders themselves, have debated whether the Constitution protected slavery, or, on the contrary, doomed the institution of slavery. What do students think?