Go to TeachingAmericanHistory.org to
find a copy of the speech that Abraham Lincoln gave in Springfield,
Illinois shortly after the Supreme Court issued its decision in the Dred Scott case.
As you read his speech*, create an outline of the reasons Lincoln
gives for his view that the decision is “erroneous.” Outline his
objections to the dissenting opinion and his views about the separation
of the races as well.
When you finish the outline, write a short essay that summarizes
Lincoln’s views and your own views on the decision. Which of Lincoln’s
arguments, if any, did you find most persuasive? Which of Lincoln’s
arguments, if any, do you find objectionable? Support your opinions
with reasons and, whenever possible, use specific phrases from the
speech to illustrate your points.
After you have drafted your essay, be prepared to share your first
draft with another student, get feedback from him or her, and then
revise your essay before you turn in a final draft and your outline to
* Note: You will notice that before Lincoln
speaks about the Dred Scott decision, he talks about what was happening
in Utah and in Kansas at the time. You should read these paragraphs to
get a better understanding of the context in which the decision was
issued and Lincoln’s views, but you do not have to outline this section.