A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

III. Massachusetts and the National Debate over Slavery, 1800-1840s

Framing Questions

In what ways do these documents provide evidence about:
  1. Incidents, individuals, and issues bringing slavery to national attention?
  2. The involvement of the Adams family in the national debate over slavery?
  3. The ways in which people in the North became aware of the horrors of slavery?
  4. Ways in which Northerners' growing awareness did and did not modify their attitudes toward race?


Photo of a hand branded with an The Branded Hand

  The Amistad Captives

Manuscript of John Quincy Adams diary for March 1841 The Amistad Trial

  The Lord's Doing