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A picture of slavery, for youth. Jonathan Walker.

[Detail] A picture of slavery, for youth. Jonathan Walker

Chronological Thinking: Periodization

As suggested in the U.S. history section of this Collection Connection, a timeline of events related to slavery in the United States would be a useful tool in setting the context for examining the Slaves and the Courts, 1740-1860 collection. Events could be added to the timeline as documents from the collection are analyzed. Such an activity supports the development of basic chronological thinking and could also serve as the basis for a more sophisticated exercise involving periodization.

Periodization in U.S. history is generally based on criteria related to the overall development of the nation. Yet alternative periodizations are certainly possible. Create periods in U.S. history for the years from 1492 to 1877, using developments in the history of slavery as the overall organizer. For example, one period might be "The End of Northern Slavery, 1777-1827." For each period created, prepare an explanation of what distinguishes that period from others.