Atlantic Slave Trade | Video

American History | Modul 13 | Verstehen und urteilen | Brutalität und Menschenrechtsverletzung | ◻◻ mittel | ca. 30 min

SklavenPlan des britischen Sklavenschiffs Brooke von 1788 | Vollständiges Bild und Bildnachweis (Public Domain, Wikimedia): Bild anklicken




Beginning from the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus in 1492, the European powers colonised America and wiped out most of the original inhabitants, for example, the Aztecs, the Incas, and the Native Americans. As a result, there were not enough workers on the continent from the 16th century onwards, especially to work on the coffee, tobacco and cotton plantations in South America, the Caribbean and the southern part of what is now the United States. This shortage of labour led to the Atlantic slave trade. More than ten million Africans were brought to the American continent this way.





1 | a) Watch the video and take notes. If you have difficulties to understand it, you may watch it a second time.

b) Write a short encyclopedia article about slavery in North America. Use your notes from a).


2 | Work in groups of three | Abraham Lincoln became American president in 1861. During his presidency, slavery was abolished. A few years earlier, in a speech in Illinois, he had said:

What I do say is, that no man is good enough to govern another man, without that other's consent. I say this is the leading principle.

Roy P. Basler (ed.): The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume II, "Speech at Peoria, Illinois" (October 16, 1854), p. 266.

Three men listen to this speech. One is a farmer from Illinois, where slavery was already forbidden. The second is his former slave who still works for him as a labourer. The third is the farmer's brother from Mississippi who is visiting him. He owns a big plantation with many slaves. On the way home, they discuss the speech.

Write a script for their conversation or take notes on their positions and enact the conversation once in your group. You could present it in front of the class later on.




Abraham Lincoln’s position on slavery is one of the central issues in American history. Lincoln often expressed moral opposition to slavery in public and in private. In the 1850s, Lincoln was politically attacked as an abolitionist (someone who demands the abolition of slavery), but he did not consider himself one. Until his early presidency, Lincoln’s goal was to stop slavery from expanding,  to ultimately bring it to an end. He did not call for the immediate end of slavery everywhere in the U.S. until the 1864 election.


The following phrases might help you

Stating an opinion: I would say … / In my opinion … / I strongly believe … / As far as I can see … / It is important to …  

agree: Yes, that is a good point. /I absolutely agree. / Exactly.  /You are right about that. / That is just what I think, too.

disagree:  I would not say so. / Well, I do not think so. / I am afraid I don’t agree with you there. / I strongly disagree.

partly agree: That might be true but …. / I’m not sure about this. / I see your point, but I think … / I can understand why … but …

clarify: What I mean is … / Let me put it this way: … / Do you mean that…? / I’m not sure what you mean / What I am trying to say is …


To start your conversation, the following arguments may help you

Farmer Illinois

  • The constitution states that all men are created equal
  • The United States must improve their industry; slaves are not necessary for that

Former Slave

  • Human beings are no goods to be sold
  • Slaves are treated badly on many plantations and have no opportunities to improve their position

Farmer Mississippi

  • Without the slaves, the farms will produce fewer goods; everyone profits from a strong economy
  • Former slaves often continue working in agriculture; what changes?


Die Antworten zu den Aufgaben kannst du entweder – einfach mit Stift und Papier –  in deine Geschichtsmappe schreiben.
Du kannst die Antworten aber auch direkt unter den Aufgaben eingeben und anschließend ausdrucken oder als pdf abspeichern. Das ist allerdings nicht mit allen Geräten möglich. Hier erhältst du weitere Informationen.

Stichworte zum Modul Atlantic Slave Trade | Geschichte | Geschichtsunterricht | Unterricht | Amrican History | USA| Video | Sklaverei | Dreieckshandel

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