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        Minnesota | Activity 4.1: The Dred Scott Decision

        Students watch a video about the Dred Scott decision. Students answer questions and draw conclusions about slavery based on the video. Students also describe how the Dred Scott decision affected African Americans. 

        Lesson Summary

        Students watch a video about the Dred Scott decision. Students answer questions and draw conclusions about slavery based on the video. Students also describe how the Dred Scott decision affected African Americans. 

        This lesson is part of "Great States: Minnesota | Unit 4: Treaties and Statehood," which focuses on how the enormous economic, political, and technological changes of the 19th century impacted the creation of the state of Minnesota.

        Time Allotment

        15  - 18 minutes

        Learning Objectives

        Standards: 

        6.4.4.19.1: Explain the causes of the Civil War; describe how the debate over slavery and abolition played out in Minnesota. 

        Supplies

        Directions

        1. Explain what it means to be enslaved. A slave is a person who serves someone else, called a master, without payment for the work performed. Enslaved people in the United States did not have rights, such as the right to vote, go to school, or read. They did not decide where to live, could be forced to marry, and could have their children sold away from them. They were also beaten or tortured if they did not work as well or fast as the master desired.

        2. Explain what it means to be an abolitionist. An abolitionist is someone who fights to end slavery. An abolitionist can be any race or gender, enslaved or free.

        3. Play the video, The Abolitionists: What Was the Dred Scott Decision? [2:00].

        4. Disperse the Dred Scott Decision handout to students. Divide the class into teams to fill in the answers.

        1. Reconvene and discuss responses to the handout as a class.

        Answer Key

          • Dred Scott was a Missouri slave whose master brought him to Wisconsin and Illinois territory, where slavery was illegal. Scott wanted the courts to recognize his time in the free states and territories as grounds for his freedom. [0:20]

          • Dred Scott hoped that the court judges would make it law that slaves brought to free states and territories were considered to be free. [0:21]

          • Slaves could be taken to free states and would be required to continue to live as slaves. Also, free African Americans could be kidnapped and sold into slavery. Their everyday lives may have been more hopeless and filled with fear. [0:52]

          • African Americans could, by law, be forced into slavery, according to the ruling of the case. [0:57] This essentially made slavery legal in all of the United States. [1:24]

        1. Answers will vary.

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