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The Slavery Debate and the Dred Scott Family

from History Live

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Discover how a family's desire to secure its freedom collided with a nation's debate over slavery. Students will exercise critical thinking skills, examine primary resources and explore the issues leading to the Supreme Court's infamous Dred Scott Decision of 1857.
BYOD - Bring Your Own Device! Students are invited to bring and use a cellphone, smart-phone, tablet or laptop to participate in this lesson.

Program Rating

  based on 16 evaluation(s).

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About This Program


By Request: $120.00

$120.00 for schools outside of Minnesota
$75.00 for schools in the state of Minnesota, thanks to the MN Legacy Amendment


1 Hour

Target Audience

Education: Grade(s) 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Minimum participants:


Maximum participants:


Primary Disciplines

Social Studies/History American Slavery

Program Delivery Mode

Videoconference - H.323 (Polycom, Cisco/Tandberg, LifeSize, etc...)
Videoconference – Webcam/desktop (Zoom, Skype, iChat, Vidyo, Movi/Jabber, Blue Jeans, etc...)

Booking Information

History Live lessons must be requested 3 weeks prior to requested lesson date. Cancellations must be received 14 days before your lesson. Contact us if you need to reschedule.

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Receive this program and 9 more for one low price when you purchase the CILC Virtual Expeditions package. Learn more

For more information contact CILC at (507) 388-3672

Provider's Cancellation Policy

Cancellations must be received 14 days before your lesson. Contact us if you need to reschedule.

About This Provider

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History Live

St. Paul, MN
United States

History Live is a program of the Minnesota Historical Society, which designs and develops educational products for students nationwide. All of our award-winning programs and teacher supplementary materials are based on national academic standards.

Minnesota Historical Society

Program Details


1. Introduction: We unpack the concepts of slavery, American Slavery, and property.
2. Context: We explore the regional tensions of antebellum United States and the "fugitive slave law."
3. Personal: Introduction and story of Dred Scott & Harriet Robinson.
4. The Decision: The class analyze sections of the Supreme Court decision in groups.
5. Connections: Conclude the Scott Family story, and discuss connections to the modern world.


-To give context to the famous United States Supreme Court case: Scott v. Sandford, by exploring the “big-picture” of Antebellum America.
-To examine the personal experience of enslaved people, using the story and resources of the Scotts, and focusing on themes of family and personal choices.
-To facilitate analysis of historic political cartoons and modern culture in order to identify the effects the Scott family’s experience has had on the United States.
-To make connections between the Scott family in Antebellum America and 9-12th grade students in modern America, utilizing technology and Web 2.0 tools, and the universal themes of Family, Freedom and Choice.

Standards Alignment

National Standards

National Social Science Standards:
(Grades 5-12)
U.S. History:

Common Core Literacy in History Standards:
(Grades 9-12)

Craft and Structure:

Key Ideas and Details:

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:

State Standards