Can you help me understand this History question?
Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.
Danver, S. L. (Ed.). (2011). Revolts, protests, demonstrations, and rebellions in American history: An encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, LLC.
Revolts, Protests, Demonstrations, and Rebellions in American History: An Encyclopedia, by Danver, S. Copyright 2010 by ABC-CLIO INC. Reprinted by permission of ABC-CLIO INC. via the Copyright Clearance Center.
Slave Revolts and Abolitionism
Document: Final Project Guidelines (PDF)
American Experience [AmericanExperiencePBS]. (2013, January 4). The abolitionists, part one, chapter 1 [Video file]. Retrieved from
American Experience [AmericanExperiencePBS]. (2013, January 9). The abolitionists, part 2, chapter 1 [Video file]. Retrieved from
American Experience [AmericanExperiencePBS]. (2013, January 22). The abolitionists, part 3, chapter 1 [Video file]. Retrieved from
The above links provide selections from the PBS series, “The Abolitionists,” focusing on how a fringe movement against chattel slavery evolved into a force that changed a nation.
Author James Green recounts a bomb explosion in 1886 at a Chicago labor rally that killed two policemen and changed the direction of the labor movement and its 20-year battle for an eight-hour workday.
Discussion: 19th-Century Social Change Movements
A battle lost or won is easily described, understood, and appreciated, but the moral growth of a great nation requires reflection, as well as observation, to appreciate it.
In this Discussion, you will focus on the emergence and outcomes of early social change efforts in the United States.
To begin, consider the backdrop against which these efforts played out. By the 19th century, the United States was the only western country in which chattel slavery was still legal. Every European nation had already abolished the practice of buying and selling human beings for labor. America’s northern states had ended slavery too, but in the South, the white community vowed to do anything necessary to hold on to slavery, even if that meant civil war. As a result, the Thirteenth Amendment would not be ratified until 1865, nearly 100 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Throughout the 19th century, women’s rights continued to be addressed state by state and territory by territory, but it was not until 1920 that the Nineteenth Amendment guaranteed all American women the right to vote. And the Industrial Revolution, fueled by an expanding nation rich in natural resources and populated by a constant influx of immigrant workers meant that increasing numbers of men, women, and even children worked for powerful business interests that were far more intent on growth and profits than the well-being of their workers.
For your Discussion this week, you will discuss the effectiveness of 19th-century social change movements.
To prepare for this Discussion:
- Review this week’s Learning Resources.
- Consider the varied reasons for the emergence of early social change movements in the United States. What prompted individuals and groups to support the abolition of chattel slavery? Why were women’s rights an issue that resonated strongly with some women and men? How and why did the roots of the labor movement take hold?
- With the Learning Resources in mind, consider the effectiveness of these social change movements during the 19th century. What changed during this timeframe and what did not?
- Reflect on the agents of social change themselves. Who were they and what prompted them to take action? Did women and people of color participate in these movements?
- Finally, select two 19th-century social change movements on which to focus for this Discussion.
- What strategies did the leaders of these two movements utilize to further their causes? Why?
With these thoughts in mind:
Post a 2- to 3-paragraph assessment of the overall effectiveness of 19th-century social change efforts. Then, briefly explain how two specific movements encouraged social change. For each movement briefly address the following:
- What prompted the emergence of this social change movement?
- Who were agents of social change or leaders of the movement? What prompted their activism?
- What strategies to achieve social change were applied and why?
- What successes did each movement have?
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