– What does it mean to abolish slavery? How did earlier English ideas about slavery, or the judicial decisions like the 1772 Somerset decision, shape the revolutionary antislavery? How did revolutionary Americans understand abolition, and to what extent was slavery actually abolished during the revolutionary era?
– Did the Quock Walker decision abolish slavery in Massachusetts? How did William Cushing come to his decision in the case? What do the facts of the case tell us about the limits of revolutionary antislavery? (If you completed Enrichment Activity #1, how does Walker’s case compare to Belinda Sutton’s petitions? Might there be connections between them?)
– How should we view “gradual emancipations” like the process Pennsylvania initiated in 1780—radical or conservative? How did revolutionary republicanism shape the way white Americans thought about the abolition of slavery? How might factors specific to revolutionary Pennsylvania have shaped the process? Were PAS activists racial egalitarians or racist paternalists? (If you completed Enrichment Activity #2, how did these issues continue to shape the formation of free black communities, and institutions like the AME Church, in Philadelphia?)