by Benjamin Franklin
We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
The Black Man's Burden
- Reverend H.T. Johnson
Reverend H.T. Johnson wrote this poem in response to Kipling’s “The White Man’s Burden.”Pair “Petition from the Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery” with “The Black Man’s Burden” and ask students how each author uses rhetoric to call for change. Is it similar or different? How does each author draw upon American values to support their claim? Is the tone in each similar or different? Why? Is one text more powerful than the other? Explain. Use evidence from each text to support your answers.
Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death Speech
- Patrick Henry
In this speech, Patrick Henry rouses colonist leaders to take up arms against the British tyranny. It is from this speech that the Declaration of Independence was born. This speech uses an emotional argument, and lays the foundation for fundamental American values of individual power.Pair “Petition from the Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery” with “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” and ask students how the ideas expressed by Patrick Henry reflect the ideals of early American government that Franklin discusses. How does this provide context to the assertion that slavery is out of character of the American people? What characteristics of America does Henry’s speech reveal? How does slavery contradict this? Should the government have ended slavery solely on religious or moral terms as mentioned in Franklin’s letter? Why or why not? Use evidence from each text to support your answers.
We Shall Overcome Speech
- President Lyndon B. Johnson
This rousing speech by President Lyndon B. Johnson was delivered right after civil rights protesters were brutally beaten on “Bloody Sunday.” This speech is considered one of the best presidential speeches in history, and eventually led to The Voting Rights Act of 1965.Pair “Petition from the Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery” with former President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “‘We Shall Overcome’ Speech” and have students think about the role that formal institutions, as well as society in general, have played in the oppression of African-Americans throughout history. As any student of American history is well aware, the end of slavery did not signify the end of both formal and informal forms of discrimination against African-Americans. How does Johnson’s speech speak to the principles expressed by Franklin? Is the work of the Civil Rights Movement a continuation of the work done by abolitionist groups more than a century and a half earlier? Why or why not? Use evidence from each text to support your answers.
What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?
- Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) was an African American social reformer, orator, writer, former slave, and leading abolitionist. In this speech delivered to a crowd of abolitionists in New York, Douglass reminds his audience of the inherent hypocrisy of an "Independence Day" for people enslaved.Pair “Petition from the Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery” with “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” and ask students to discuss the common themes in each text. How does each author support these themes? How are American values addressed in each text? Compare the tone of each text. Is the tone in one text more effective than the other? Why? Is the argument’s reasoning in either text stronger? Why or why not? Use evidence from each text to support your answers.
Speech on Slavery
- Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was well known for his opposition to slavery, believing that it went against the core principles of the nation’s Founding Fathers. In this text, Lincoln contrasts slavery with its better counterpart, free labor, and aligns it with the necessity of equality in society.Pair “Petition from the Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery” with “Speech on Slavery” and ask students to compare the arguments against the continuation of slavery presented in each text. Do they emphasize similar concepts? How does the language in each differ? What impact does language have on the tone of each text? Which argument is more effective? Why? Do they seem to be directed at different audiences? Are the ideas in these texts are in line with what you know about Lincoln and Franklin?