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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

  • Historical Eras > Antebellum America (1816-1860) (x)

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A Woodcut Depicts Nat Turner's Rebellion

The event known as Nat Turner's Rebellion was the largest slave uprising in the antebellum South. Beginning in the early morning hours of August 21, 1831, Turner, a literate slave who claimed to be guided by religious visions, led a group of slaves [...]

Item Type: Poster/Print
New York State Census Page of Five Points, 1855

This page from the 1855 census for New York City's Sixth Ward, the home of the Five Points neighborhood, includes residents of two buildings. The notorious Five Points, formed by the intersections of Mulberry, Orange, Anthony, Cross, and Little [...]

Graph of Mid-19th Century Emigration from Ireland to New York

This graph shows the number of arrivals in New York City ports from Britain and Ireland from 1841-1855. Before 1847, records did not usually distinguish between immigrants from the two countries (Ireland remained a part of the United Kingdom until [...]

Bar Graph of the Population of Ireland, Mid-Nineteenth Century

This graph shows the depopulation of Ireland that occurred in the mid-nineteenth century, as a direct result of the Great Famine, which began in 1845. Approximately one million people died during the Famine, while another million are thought to have [...]

Table of Emigrant Savings Bank Account Records

This sample of account records from Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank provides evidence about the lives of immigrants living in New York City during the mid-nineteenth century. All account holders included in this sample lived in the Five Points [...]

Table of Marriage Records from the Church of the Transfiguration in New York City, 1855

A selection of marriage records transcribed from the original marriage certificates of the Church of the Transfiguration located in Lower Manhattan in present-day Chinatown.

Frederick Douglass Declares There Is "No Progress Without Struggle"

Frederick Douglass was an escaped slave, a leader of the anti-slavery movement in the North, editor of the abolitionist newspaper The North Star and, after the Civil War, a diplomat for the U.S. government. This excerpt is from an address on West [...]

Item Type: Speech
The Dred Scott Decision "Cannot Stand"

Frederick Douglass was an escaped slave and leader of the anti-slavery movement in the North. This excerpt is from an address he delivered to the Anniversary of the American Abolition Society held in New York, May 14, 1857.

A Congressman "Pleads the Case of White Men"

In 1847, Representative David Wilmot of Pennsylvania made a speech (excerpted below) to the House of Representatives in which he proposed a legislative amendment that would ban slavery from any territory acquired as a result of the war with Mexico. [...]

Item Type: Speech
"I Am the Little Irish Boy"

Henry David Thoreau is one of America's best-loved poets and authors, known especially for his work Walden, with its meditations on nature. In this 1850 poem, Thoreau turns his attentive eye to a "little Irish boy," destined for a life of manual [...]

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