Uncle Tom’s Cabin Research

Paper details:
Harriet Beech Stowe wrote this novel in reaction to Congress’ passage of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act. Using information that she got from her own visit to
Kentucky, from accounts of run-away slaves on the Underground Railroad and from Southern publications, she created a fictional story about slaves and their
owners that was based on fact. Her intent was to awaken her fellow Americans to the realities of slavery and its innate immorality. The novel was regarded
as the book that started the Civil War, though it was only one of many factors that led to America’s greatest crisis in the 19th century. Yet, it was a
controversial work in that it intensified the pre-existing tensions over the perpetuation of human bondage in the “land of the free” – tensions that went as far
back as the drafting of the 1776 Declaration of Independence.
d) You can also use online sites, but reputable ones – not blogs. There is a lot of junk on the web, including fake histories and lunatic-fringe “facts.” One
online site that you can consult is: http://college.hmco.com. You can also consult the history sites provided by reputable colleges & universities – e.g. CUNY,
Harvard, Yale, Columbia, the University of California, the University of Chicago. Don’t use websites of institutions/organizations you’re unfamiliar with or have
never heard of:
(5) Don’t summarize the plot of the novel; this is not a book report.
(6) Answer the questions in Q&A (Question & Answer) format; List the number and letter in that you are answering. Treat your responses like a mini-essay
with complete sentences and paragraphs. Remember that even with Q&A, organization and correct grammar are still needed.
In a typewritten response regarding American slavery, answer the following questions, and base your answers upon Stowe’s novel and non-fictional sources.
What you will do is to determine how accurately Stowe portrayed the conditions and problems of slavery. Pretend that you are an investigative journalist, who
will use different sources to analyze America’s “peculiar institution” of slavery in “the land of the free”. (BTW: “Peculiar” means “unique” or “distinctive”, as
well as “odd”.)
As for resources which you can use, start with your textbook:
(a) Look at the Table of Contents for the chapters on Slavery and read them. You can also look at the Index at the back of the textbook for information about
various subjects or to zero-in on a particular topic. (FYI: An index is a pre-Internet search engine which is limited only to the information in the book that it is
part of.) Pay attention to items in the chapters that deal with varying viewpoints and/or contending voices for different opinions on an issue.
(b) Next, consult the section at the end of each textbook chapter entitled TO LEARN MORE, which gives a short list of suggested readings or sources that can
help you get started. Be aware of two types of sources for historical research – (i) primary source documents, which are works/records written by people in
the past and are the raw materials for historians & other investigators to work with; and (ii) secondary sources which are materials written or produced using
those primary sources. For example, Stowe’s novel is a primary source, while a study based in part on her book is a secondary source. Another example: A
newspaper article is a primary source since it is contemporary with its time period and the current events it reports; but a journalistic or scholarly article
utilizing the newspaper account is a secondary source. Use the suggested readings, especially the primary sources to help you answer the questions of this
assignment; and you must use primary sources in addition to secondary ones.
c) Insert 1.5 inch-margins on all sides of each page
F. Y. I. — Note the following points:

  1. Stowe deals with American slavery in the 19th century (1800s) and NOT in the period of the 17th and 18th centuries (1600s and 1700s). So, don’t confuse
    the two historical periods.
    a. In the 1600s to 1700s, most slaves were imported from Africa. But after 1808 when the US government banned the African slave-trade, Americans got
    their slaves by breeding them; consequently, the slaves in Stowe’s novel are American-born, even though the author dubs them “Africans.”
    b. In the 1600s and 1700s, slavery existed in both the North and the South. But in Stowe’s time, i.e. the 1800s, slavery was abolished in the North by the state
    legislatures there; however, it continued in the South and only ended in that region after the Civil War. Therefore, 19th century slavery refers solely to Southern
  2. In Stowe’s novel, the geographical term, “north”, has two meanings:
    a. “North” may refer to the free or non-slave region above the borders of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri (see the map of US slavery after
    the Compromise of 1850 in your textbook).
    b. “North” may also refer to the UPPER South (i.e. the slave states of Kentucky, Virginia,
    Maryland and Delaware), as opposed to the DEEP South (i.e. the slave states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Georgia). So, Kentucky is not a
    Northern free state but a Southern slave state, even though it’s sometimes called “up north” in the novel.
    c. Note that Ohio IS a free state, despite the fact that its Senator Bird votes for a
    pro-slavery bill in the novel

Sample Solution