That History Day Guy

August 7, 2007

So you need a Topic?

Filed under: theme — historydayguy @ 7:55 pm

1799. An Act for the gradual abolition of Slavery, March 29,1799Laws of the State of New-York, Passed at the Twenty-Second Meeting of the Legislature Begun. ..theSecond Day of January, 1799 (Albany, 1799), 721-723.Be it enacted .. . That any child born of a slave within this state after the fourth day of July next shall be deemed and adjudged to be born free: Provided nevertheless. That such child shall be the servant of the legal proprietor of his or her mother until such servant, if a male, shall arrive at the age of twenty-eight years, and if a female, at the age of twenty-five years. 

So begins the end of Slavery in New York State. Many people think of New York State as a bastion of progressive politics and social movements that were instrumental in the ending of slavery. While this may be true to a certain extent, a harder look at our relationship with slavery will reveal businesses in New York City reliant on the cheap labor provided to the cotton industry and businessmen  who actually called for the cession of the city to demonstrate comrade with their partners in the South.

The Draft Riots of 1863, and the attacks on African Americans demonstrate the conflicts present in our state. And even abolition leaders choices at times seem suspect.

New Yorkers constantly wrestled with the question of slavery. Even John Jay who helped

 to found the New York Manumission Society was a slave owner and eventually settled on compromise when freeing the slaves in New York.

Always personal and economic interests seem to conflict with the efforts of those who sought to end the horrible institution of slavery in the Empire state which seemed to lead to the compromises that held back with granting full freedom to an imprisoned people.

Wait a minute… Conflict? Compromise? Where have I heard those words before.

Yes dear History Day students, you need look no further than our own States History to develop a compelling topic. Our nations struggle with the issue of race demonstrates this years theme in stark terms and offers a plethora of angles, individuals and events to explore for History Day. Start with the major players and events and dig to find those fascinating forgotten instances in History that demonstrate the larger march of time. And have a good month of History!

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1 Comment »

  1. Hello!
    How are you?

    Comment by ScannyUnlossy — November 3, 2007 @ 6:50 pm | Reply


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