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ERIC Number: EJ1043152
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0037-7724
Teaching Students Sourcing and Contextualizing Strategies Using Newspapers and Lithographs
Newland, Rebecca
Social Education, v78 n3 p104-107 May-Jun 2014
The story of Abraham Lincoln's reaction to meeting Harriet Beecher Stowe is well known. Supposedly, the president greeted the formidable author with, "So you're the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war!" Although the two did meet in November 1862, there is no evidence that Lincoln said anything of the kind. The importance of "Uncle Tom's Cabin," however, is beyond question. As the best-selling novel of the nineteenth century, it made Stowe famous around the world, and the characters and language from the book live on in debates about history and culture. The Lincoln anecdote does raise a question, though: Aside from its literary success, what impact did "Uncle Tom's Cabin," published in 1852, have on the increasing hostilities between the slaveholding and free states? One way for students to begin exploring this question is by sourcing and contextualizing the ways in which Stowe's novel was discussed and portrayed in the media of its time. Contemporary evidence of the enormous significance of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" can be seen in the newspapers of its era, many of which can be found in Chronicling America ( Sourcing and contextualizing are powerful tools for students as they first engage with primary sources like these. "Sourcing" invites thinking about a document's creator, while "contextualizing" involves situating the document in time and place. Sourcing and contextualizing can be especially effective strategies for analyzing primary sources from the years just before and during the Civil War, when publications from different sides of the conflict frequently expressed strongly contrasting points of view on the same topic.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A