Programs > K-12 Programs > Teaching American History

Windows into America's Past
Teaching American History Grant

Beyond Garrison: Reforming Antebellum America
Saturday, March 8, 2008

Seminar Description:

This program will explore the antebellum abolitionist movement, the life and times of William Lloyd Garrison, and how the diversity of reform impulses were both a response to and an agent of profound cultural and technological changes in the nineteenth century.

Dr. Bruce Laurie, professor of history at the University of Massachusetts, will begin the session with a presentation that puts the abolition movement in a broad hemispheric context and then will examine how this movement functioned in New England and in Central Massachusetts. At the heart of this narrative are stories of local, ordinary people. Professor Laurie will also run a workshop in which primary source materials from various individuals and abolitionist organizations in Massachusetts are examined closely.

Storyteller Merrill Kohlhofer will then present his one-man show about William Lloyd Garrison entitled, I Will Be Heard! In this dramatic presentation, Merrill presents both the fiery rhetoric and the life story of one of the most famous and influential reformers in American history.

The program will conclude with a broad overview of the cultural and technological changes that occurred in the antebellum period and how these were both a catalyst for and an agent of reformation. This workshop, led by James David Moran, Director of Outreach at the American Antiquarian Society, will examine a wide variety of historic newspapers, images, books, and manuscripts from the Society.s collections illustrating the diversity of movements including: women.s rights, temperance, health and educational reform, as well as the abolition of slavery.

This program adheres to the following learning standards in the Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Frameworks: 3.7 A-E; 3.12 5.12; 5.31; 5.35 USI.27; USI.28; USI.29; USI.31; USI.32: USI.33; USI.34

Seminal Questions to be discussed include:

How was the movement to end slavery an international one?

What motivated abolitionists and antislavery men and women?

What role did ordinary people living in Massachusetts play in the abolitionist movement?

How did William Lloyd Garrison influence the abolition of slavery?

What impact did steam power have on transportation in the nineteenth century?

How did the development of new forms of transportation impact the economies of the nineteenth century?

How did the technological innovations of the nineteenth century impact reform movements?

What role did Enlightenment ideals and Scripture play in abolitionism and other reforms?

What were the various types of reform movements and how did they interact with one another?


For more information, contact:
James David Moran
Director of Outreach
American Antiquarian Society
Worcester, MA 01609