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Video transcript

so this video is about the multiple-choice section on the AP u.s. History exam and now I know you're thinking whoa Kim this is a multiple-choice section how much help could we possibly need with this either you know the answer or you don't Oh contraire Mon Ami thankfully the multiple-choice section on this exam is not just a laundry list of facts that you know or you don't know or you just leave blank what's really great about the way that these questions are designed is that they really reward you for having intuition about what's going on in any time period in American history so you might not necessarily need to know a pop quiz of facts about slavery in the nineteenth century but if you have a general idea of who the major players are what the major ideas are then you'll actually prosper in this section more than you might think so let's take a look at these quotes over here now each of the questions on the multiple-choice portion of the exam will relate back to a series of quotes like this or maybe a chart or a political cartoon the good news is that they're not just independent of each other they're always going to relate back to that chart that graph that political cartoon so these two quotes are actually related to four questions and each set of quotes or cartoon will have about two to four questions that go with it so you should really spend a lot of time reading these documents and reading them carefully and before you even go about trying to answer the questions try to get a sense of who the people are who are speaking what their main points are and how they're making their argument before you even take a stab at any of the questions so let's do that with what we have here so this is a real practice question from the AP exam and it consists of two quotes one from James Henry Hammond and one from Frederick Douglas now Douglas you've probably heard of before James Henry Hammond maybe not so much all right well first let's think about where they are in time so we've got Hammond in 1845 and Douglas in 1852 so it's the late antebellum period getting into the period just before the Civil War we know there are a lot of arguments about slavery and whether it should exist at this time period so all right that's a pretty easy baseline for where we are in time ok now where are we in space we know that James Henry Hammond is from South Carolina what about Frederick Douglass do we have any clues as to where he is well there's nothing listed here but let's move into who these people actually are so we've got Frederick Douglass and he's a pretty key figure in American history so Frederick Douglass we know was a former and slave person who escaped and he was very active in the abolitionist movement the abolitionists were the group of mostly northern intellectuals who believed that slavery should be ended right this minute everywhere in the United States if not the world so this is probably a pretty good clue that we're looking at someone from the north what about James Henry Hammond have you heard of him before probably not but we do know some things about him we know that he's in South Carolina so southern part of the country and we know that he is a governor so we can reasonably assume that he is pretty elite and we can be pretty certain since this is before the Civil War that he's white so you see that I'm making some assumptions about who James Henry Hammond is here I think he's probably a wealthy person I think he is probably white and he may be saying to yourself well what if James Henry Hammond was the one exception to the rule and he was from the working class or he was that one african-american governor that we never talked about from before the Civil War basically the question you're asking is could this be a trick and the answer is generally no almost never is the AP u.s. History exam going to try to trick you with that one strange exception to the rule because they want you to build this intuition they want to say all right what do you know about American history and how can you fit these questions into that rubric you even have kind of a clue that you probably shouldn't know who this guy is because they have to explain who he is in the first place right they have to say this was a governor of South Carolina whereas Frederick Douglass you can be pretty sure that you've heard of him and you know what he was about so trust your instincts here because people are going to be more or less who they seem in these circumstances all right let's finally read these quotes still though a slaveholder I freely acknowledge my obligations as a man and I am bound to treat humanely the fellow creatures whom God has entrusted to my charge it is certainly in the interest of all and I am convinced it is the desire of every one of us to treat our slaves with proper kindness all right so what is he saying here first he's saying he himself as a slave holder so we've got a good idea of who he is he's a wealthy white person who owns slaves in the south so we can guess that he's probably pro-slavery what else is he saying he's saying that slaveholders should treat enslaved people with kindness all right he says that he's convinced it's the desire of every one of us well this doesn't quite seem to jive with what we know about slavery in the South it's a cruel and terrible institution so it sounds like Hammond might be making kind of an excuse for slavery or at least say maybe slavery is not so bad and I think there's one other thing kind of lurking in here which is this idea that God has trusted fellow creatures to his charge so he's almost saying that God made the system of slavery that the way things are is the way that God wanted them to be so this is almost a religious argument for slavery saying God wanted it to be this way God has entrusted these people to his care so what's Frederick Douglass saying here he's saying standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion I will in the name of humanity which is outraged and in the name of Liberty which is fettered in the name of the Constitution and Bible which are disregarded and trampled upon dared a call in question and denounce slavery the great sin and shame of America well I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Douglass does not agree with Hammond so I think these two quotes are pretty much diametrically opposed so where Hammond says that God entrusted enslaved people to his care Douglass is saying he's standing with God and the crushed Bible to say that slavery is condemned by Christianity what else is he saying well he's saying Liberty and the Constitution are being trampled upon so that there's a patriotic appeal maybe also for why the Declaration of Independence and the idea of all men are created equal is not compatible with slavery so while Hammond is saying oh I think that all people who owned slaves desire to treat them kindly and God has entrusted us with slaves the natural order meant by the almighty Douglas is saying no this is the great sin and shame of America it is not a Christian institution and it is not an institution which is compatible with the ideals of the United States so we've got a ton of information out of these documents and we haven't even looked at a multiple choice question yet all right are you ready to take some on let's do it all right this is an actual AP practice question and the first thing you want to do when you're approaching one of these questions is to read it really carefully so the excerpt from James Henry Hammond is most clearly an example of which of the following developments in the mid nineteenth century all right so we're only looking at Hammond and we're specifically thinking about the mid 19th century so put ourselves there in time that kind of 1850s era let's go through the possible answers one by one and if we don't like something we will cross it out right away all right option a the decline of slavery in southern states as a result of gradual emancipation laws all right so says that slavery was declining as a result of gradual emancipation laws well I don't think that can be true right because if anything slavery is getting stronger before the Civil War I don't remember any gradual emancipation laws in the south so let's get rid of that all right option B the increasingly restrictive nature of slavery in the South enforced by stronger slave codes well there certainly were more slave codes in the 1850s and they were pretty restrictive but is that what the excerpt is talking about now he's talking about kindness and that slave owners should treat their slaves kindly so that's probably not the right one but let's leave it on the table for now just in case there's not a better answer the expanding use of moral arguments by northern anti-slavery activists well Hammond is a southerner so I'm gonna go with no all right option D the growing tendency among southern slaveholders to justify slavery as a positive good yeah I think that's actually the best option right because he's saying god intended this we're trying to treat them with kindness so it's a very pro-slavery argument made on the grounds that slavery is a good institution now it's worth noting that one of these options option B what it says is true but it's not a clear example of what Hammond is saying in the excerpt so make sure that you're answering the question that you're actually being asked not just looking for what could be factually true among the answers alright I think this is enough for this video but stay tuned to the next video and we'll do a few more examples
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