Need help formulating a history thesis about slavery before 1865

Feb 2018
hello I have a major problem in finding a good theis that are argumentative and descriptive enough about slavery. tex which questions can I ask about slavery that are specific but broad enough to write an 4-5 essay on.

i was thinking to try and do something about the family structures in slave families. And maybe a bit on how they resisted their slave masters through their culture or kinship ties through the family and relatives. And maybe explore how separation of the males and females on slaves developed a matriarchy in the slave society.

the problem I have is that I don't have enough knowledge about slaves to really explain a good argumentative theiss, I only know some general topics I want to research about like women and slavery, but I'm unsure on how I should structure it and is I should focus on other aspects like resistance, culture, religion etc.

Do you guys have any ideas for good thesis/topics about slavery in America

This is my assignment:
This assignment asks you to make sense of varying approaches to and interpretations of a narrow historical issue that interests you. Then identify at least 3 scholarly articles that substantively address your selected issue. (Be sure they all come from different authors.) Treat these materials as your evidence: what are the key historical facts or highlights that the reader (me) needs to have to appreciate the full value of your selected topic? A complete essay will be sensitive to the different ways in which scholars have approached the topic. For example, if your subject is ratification of the Constitution, do scholars examine it as a political, legal, or economic issue?

I have found a few scholarly articles, but I think I need more ideas or even better ones that have with slavery to do.

Jones, Jacqueline. “‘My Mother Was Much of a Woman’: Black Women, Work, and the Family under Slavery.” Feminist Studies, vol. 8, no. 2, 1982, pp. 235–269. JSTOR, JSTOR, "My Mother Was Much of a Woman": Black Women, Work, and the Family under Slavery on JSTOR.

Davis, Angela. “Reflections on the Black Woman's Role in the Community of Slaves.” The Massachusetts Review, vol. 13, no. 1/2, 1972, pp. 81–100. JSTOR, JSTOR, Reflections on the Black Woman's Role in the Community of Slaves on JSTOR
This might not help you because it's not an article. But the author is well known for writing about or appearing in documentaries regarding African American history esp. regarding family dynamics of slavery days (because he hosted a show on Afro-American genealogy): Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Here's one of his articles (very short, but it talks about trying to connect to family history among modern African Americans, it may help you in the background perhaps a few examples, but not actual history)


Forum Staff
May 2013
Albuquerque, NM
The assignment was meant to teach you how to conduct elementary research. So far you haven't shown that you have seriously tried to carry out your assignment. It isn't about what your topic is, but how much and what quality of sources you can find supporting your thesis. Only one thesis, no more.

I'd just like to remind the members of the site policy to constrain our assistance to students on assignment until they'v done some significant part of their work on their own. In this case, the OP seems to have made a good start, but personally I think we may not really be helping.

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