Slavery in the United States

Slavery in the United States lasted as a legal institution until the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1865. It had its origins with the first English colonization of North America in Virginia in 1607, although African slaves were brought to Spanish Florida as early as the 1560s.[1] Most slaves were black and were held by whites, although some Native Americans and free blacks also held slaves; there was a small number of white slaves as well. Slaves were spread to the areas where there was good quality soil for large plantations of high value cash crops, such as cotton, sugar, and coffee. The majority of slaveholders were in the southern United States, where most slaves were engaged in an efficient machine-like gang system of agriculture, with farms of fifteen or more slaves proving to be far more productive than farms without slaves.[citation needed] Also, these large groups of slaves were thought to work more efficiently if guarded by a managerial class called overseers to ensure that the slaves did not waste a second of movement.

From 1654 until 1865, slavery for life was legal within the boundaries of much of the present United States.[2] Before the widespread establishment of chattel slavery (outright ownership of the slave), much labor was organized under a system of bonded labor known as indentured servitude. This typically lasted for several years for white and black alike, and it was a means of using labor to pay the costs of transporting people to the colonies.[3] By the 18th century, court rulings established the racial basis of the American incarnation of slavery to apply chiefly to Black Africans and people of African descent, and occasionally to Native Americans. In part because of the success of tobacco as a cash crop in theSouthern colonies, its labor-intensive character caused planters to import more slaves for labor by the end of the 17th century than did the northern colonies. The South had a significantly high number and proportion of slaves in the population.[3]

Twelve million Africans were shipped to the Americas from the 16th to the 19th centuries.[4][5] Of these, an estimated 645,000 were brought to what is now the United States. The largest number were shipped to Brazil (see slavery in Brazil).[6] The slave population in the United States had grown to four million by the 1860 Census.[7]

Slavery was one of the principal issues leading to the American Civil War. After the Union prevailed in the war, slavery was abolished throughout the United States with the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.[8]

Colonial America

The first record of African slavery in Colonial America was made in 1619. A British pirate ship under theDutch flag, the White Lion, had captured 20 Angolan slaves in a battle with a Portuguese ship, the São João Baptista, bound for VeracruzMexico[9]. The Angolans were from the kingdoms of Ndongo and Kongo, and spoke languages of the Bantu group[9]. The White Lion had been damaged first by the battle and then more severely in a great storm during the late summer when it came ashore at Old Point Comfort, site of present day Fort Monroe in Virginia. Though the colony was in the middle of a period later known as “The Great Migration” (1618–1623), during which its population grew from 450 to 4,000 residents, extremely high mortality rates from diseasemalnutrition, and war with Native Americans kept the population of able-bodied laborers low[10]. With the Dutch ship being in severe need of repairs and supplies and the colonists being in need of able-bodied workers, the human cargo was traded for food and services.

In addition to African slaves, Europeans, mostly Irish,[11] Scottish,[12] English, and Germans,[13] were brought over in substantial numbers as indentured servants,[14] particularly in the British Thirteen Colonies.[15] Over half of all white immigrants to the English colonies of North America during the 17th and 18th centuries might have been indentured servants.[16] In the 18th century numerous Europeans traveled to the colonies as redemptioners.[17] The white citizens of Virginia, who had arrived from Britain, decided to treat the first Africans in Virginia as indentured servants. As with European indentured servants, the Africans were freed after a stated period and given the use of land and supplies by their former owners.Anthony Johnson, a former indentured servant from Africa, became a landowner on the Eastern Shore and a slave-owner.[18] The major problem with indentured servants was that, in time, they would be freed, but they were unlikely to become prosperous. The best lands in the tidewater regions were already in the hands of wealthy plantation families by 1650, and the former servants became an underclass. Bacon’s Rebellion showed that the poor laborers and farmers could prove a dangerous element to the wealthy landowners. By switching to pure chattel slavery, new white laborers and small farmers were mostly limited to those who could afford to immigrate and support themselves. In addition, improving economic conditions in England meant that fewer laborers wanted to migrate to the colonies as indentured servants, so the planters needed to find new sources of labor.

It is shocking to human Nature, that any Race of Mankind and their Posterity should be sentanc’d to perpetual

Slavery; nor in Justice can we think otherwise of it, that they are thrown amongst us to be our Scourge one Day or other for our Sins: And as Freedom must be as dear to them as it is to us, what a Scene of Horror must it bring about! And the longer it is unexecuted, the bloody Scene must be the greater.

But there was popular support for slavery and skillful lobbying by the colonists, and in 1750 slavery again became legal in Georgia.

During most of the British colonial period, slavery existed in all the colonies. People enslaved in the North typically worked as house servants, artisans, laborers and craftsmen, with the greater number in cities. Early on, slaves in the South worked primarily in agriculture, on farms andplantations growing indigorice, and tobaccocotton became a major crop after the 1790s. Tobacco was very labor intensive, as was rice cultivation.[23] In South Carolina in 1720 about 65% of the population consisted of slaves.[24] Slaves were used by rich farmers and plantation owners who cultivate crops for commercial export operations. Backwoods subsistence farmers, a later wave of settlers, seldom owned slaves.

Some of the British colonies attempted to abolish the international slave trade, fearing that the importation of new Africans would be disruptive. Virginia bills to that effect were vetoed by the British Privy CouncilRhode Island forbade the import of slaves in 1774. All of the colonies exceptGeorgia had banned or limited the African slave trade by 1786; Georgia did so in 1798 – although some of these laws were later repealed.[25]

The British West Africa Squadron‘s slave trade suppression activities were assisted by forces from the United States Navy, starting in 1820 with the USS Cyane. Initially, this consisted of a few ships. With the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842, the relationship was formalised and they jointly ran the Africa Squadron.[26]

1776 to 1850

Second Middle Passage

The growing demand for cotton led many plantation owners west in search of more suitable land. It was for this reason that slavery did not spread to the north, instead spreading west.[29] Historian Peter Kolchin wrote, “By breaking up existing families and forcing slaves to relocate far from everyone and everything they knew” this migration “replicated (if on a reduced level) many of [the] horrors” of the Atlantic slave trade.[30] Historian Ira Berlin called this forced migration the Second Middle Passage. Characterizing it as the “central event” in the life of a slave between the American Revolution and the Civil War, Berlin wrote that whether they were uprooted themselves or simply lived in fear that they or their families would be involuntarily moved, “the massive deportation traumatized black people, both slave and free.”[31]

Although complete statistics are lacking, it is estimated that 1,000,000 slaves moved west from the Old South between 1790 and 1860. Most of the slaves were moved from MarylandVirginia, and the Carolinas. Originally the points of destination were Kentucky and Tennessee, but after 1810 the states of the Deep South: GeorgiaAlabamaMississippiLouisiana and Texas received the most. This corresponded to the massive expansion of cotton cultivation in that region, which needed labor. In the 1830s, almost 300,000 were transported, with Alabama and Mississippi receiving 100,000 each. Every decade between 1810 and 1860 had at least 100,000 slaves moved from their state of origin. In the final decade before the Civil War, 250,000 were moved. Michael Tadman, in a 1989 book Speculators and Slaves: Masters, Traders, and Slaves in the Old South, indicates that 60-70% of interregional migrations were the result of the sale of slaves. In 1820 a child in the Upper South had a 30% chance of being sold south by 1860.[32]

Slave traders were responsible for the majority of the slaves that moved west. Only a minority moved with their families and existing owner. Slave traders had little interest in purchasing or transporting intact slave families, although in the interest of creating a “self-reproducing labor force”, equal numbers of men and women were transported. Berlin wrote, “The internal slave trade became the largest enterprise in the South outside the plantation itself, and probably the most advanced in its employment of modern transportation, finance, and publicity.” The slave trade industry developed its own unique language with terms such as “prime hands, bucks, breeding wenches, and fancy girls” coming into common use.[33] The expansion of the interstate slave trade contributed to the “economic revival of once depressed seaboard states” as demand accelerated the value of the slaves who were subject to sale.[34]Some traders moved their “chattels” by sea, with Norfolk to New Orleans being the most common route, but most slaves were forced to walk. Regular migration routes were established and were served by a network of slave pens, yards, and warehouses needed as temporary housing for the slaves. As the trek advanced, some slaves were sold and new ones purchased. Berlin concluded, “In all, the slave trade, with its hubs and regional centers, its spurs and circuits, reached into every cranny of southern society. Few southerners, black or white, were untouched.”[35]The death rate for the slaves on their way to their new destination across the American South was much less than that of the captives across the Atlantic Ocean. Mortality was still higher than the normal death rate. Berlin summarizes the experience :…the Second Middle Passage was extraordinarily lonely, debilitating, and dispiriting. Capturing the mournful character of one southward marching coffle, an observer characterized it as “a procession of men, women, and children resembling that of a funeral.”Indeed, with men and women dying on the march or being sold and resold, slaves became not merely commodified but cut off from nearly every human attachment…..

Murder and mayhem made the Second Middle Passage almost as dangerous for traders as it was for slaves, which was why the men were chained tightly and guarded closely. … The coffles that marched slaves southward – like the slave ships that carried their ancestors westward – became mobile fortresses, and under such circumstances, flight was more common than revolt. Slaves found it easier – and far less perilous – to slip into the night and follow the North Star to the fabled land of freedom than to confront their heavily armed overlords.[36]

Once the trip was ended, slaves faced a life on the frontier significantly different from their experiences back east. Clearing trees and starting crops on virgin fields was harsh and backbreaking work. A combination of inadequate nutrition, bad water, and exhaustion from both the journey and the work weakened the newly arrived slaves and produced casualties. The preferred locations of the new plantations at rivers’ edges, withmosquitoes and other environmental challenges, threatened the survival of slaves. They had acquired only limited immunities in their previous homes. The death rate was such that, in the first few years of hewing a plantation out of the wilderness, some planters preferred whenever possible to use rented slaves rather than their own.[37]

The harsh conditions on the frontier increased slave resistance and led to much more reliance on violence by the owners and overseers. Many of the slaves were new to cotton fields and unaccustomed to the “sunrise-to-sunset gang labor” required by their new life. Slaves were driven much harder than when they were involved in growing tobacco or wheat back east. Slaves also had less time and opportunity to improve the quality of their lives by raising their own livestock or tending vegetable gardens, for either their own consumption or trade, as they could in the eastern south.[38]

In Louisiana it was sugar, rather than cotton, that was the main crop. Between 1810 and 1830 the number of slaves increased from under 10,000 to over 42,000. New Orleans became nationally important as a slave port and by the 1840s had the largest slave market in the country. Dealing with sugar cane was even more physically demanding than growing cotton. Planters preferred young males, who represented two-thirds of the slave purchases. The largely young, unmarried male slave force made the reliance on violence by the owners “especially savage.”[39]

Treatment of  slaves

“Without the power to punish, which the state conferred upon the master, bondage could not have existed. By comparison, all other techniques of control were of secondary importance.”[40]

Stampp further notes that while rewards sometimes led slaves to perform adequately, most agreed with an Arkansas slaveholder, who wrote:

Now, I speak what I know, when I say it is like ‘casting pearls before swine’ to try to persuade a negro to work. He must be made to work, and should always be given to understand that if he fails to perform his duty he will be punished for it.[40]

According to both the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Brion Davis and historian Eugene Genovese, treatment of slaves was both harsh and inhumane. Whether laboring or walking about in public, people living as slaves were regulated by legally authorized violence. Davis makes the point that, while some aspects of slavery took on a “welfare capitalist” look,

Yet we must never forget that these same “welfare capitalist” plantations in the Deep South were essentially ruled by terror. Even the most kindly and humane masters knew that only the threat of violence could force gangs of field hands to work from dawn to dusk “with the discipline,” as one contemporary observer put it, “of a regular trained army.” Frequent public floggings reminded every slave of the penalty for inefficient labor, disorderly conduct, or refusal to accept the authority of a superior.[41]

Slaves that worked and lived on plantations were commonly punished. This punishment could come from the plantation owner or master, his wife, children (white males), and most often by the overseer. Slaves were punished with a variety of objects and instruments. Some of these included: whips, placed in chains and shackles, various contraptions such as metal collars, being hanged, and even forced to walk a treadmill.[42] Those who inflicted pain upon the slaves also used weapons such as knives, guns, field tools, and objects found nearby. The Whip was the most common form of punishment performed on a slave. One slave said that, “The only punishment that I ever heard or knew of being administered slaves was whipping,” although he knew several that had been beaten to death for offenses such as sassing a white person, hitting another negro, fussing, or fighting in their quarters.[43] Slave overseers were authorized to whip and brutalize non-compliant slaves. According to an account by a plantation overseer to a visitor, “Some Negroes are determined never to let a white man whip them and will resist you, when you attempt it; of course you must kill them in that case”.[44] A former slave describes his witness to females being whipped. “They usually screamed and prayed, though a few never made a sound.” [45] If the women were pregnant they often dug a hole for them to place their bellies in while being whipped. After many of the slaves were whipped they would further torment the slaves by bursting the blisters and rubbing them with turpentine and red pepper. Other incidents reported that after being beaten they would take a brick, grind it up into a powder, mix it with lard and rub it all over them.[43]

Metal collars were also commonly used so that the slave would be reminded of his wrongdoings. Many collars were thick and heavy; they would often have spikes protruding, hassling the slave while doing fieldwork and preventing them from sleeping lying down. Louis Cain, a former slave describes his witness to another slave being punished, “One nigger run to the woods to be a jungle nigger, but massa cotched him with the dog and took a hot iron and brands him. Then he put a bell on him, in a wooden frame what slip over the shoulders and under the arms. He made that nigger wear the bell a year and took it off on Christmas for a present to him. It sho’ did make a good nigger out of him.” [43]

Plantation owners would sometimes hang their slaves because the slave was causing more trouble than he was worth or the owner didn’t deem them valuable any more.[citation needed] Slaves were punished for a variety of reasons, most of the time it was for working too slow, breaking a law such as running away, leaving the plantation without permission, or not following orders given to them. Myers and Massy describe the extent of many punishers, “The punishment of deviant slaves was decentralized, based on plantations, and crafted so as not to impede their value as laborers.” [46] Laws made to punish the whites for punishing their slaves were often weakly enforced or could be easily avoided. An example being in the case Smith v. Hancock, here the defendant was justified in punishing his slave with physical abuse because he showed the courts that the slave was attending an unlawful meeting, discussing rebellion, that he refused to surrender, and resisted the arresting officer by force.[47] Whites often punished slaves in front of others to make an example out of them. A man named Harding describes an incident where a woman assisted several men in a small rebellion, “The women he hoisted up by the thumbs, whipp’d and slashed her with knives before the other slaves till she died.” [48] Men and women were sometimes punished differently than the other sex, according to the 1789 report of the Committee of the Privy Council, males were often shackled and women and girls were left freely to go about.[48]

By law, slave owners could be fined for not punishing recaptured runaway slaves. Slave codes authorized, indemnified or even required the use of violence, and were denounced by abolitionists for their brutality. Both slaves and free blacks were regulated by the Black Codes and had their movements monitored by slave patrols conscripted from the white population which were allowed to use summary punishment against escapees, sometimes maiming or killing them. In addition to physical abuse and murder, slaves were at constant risk of losing members of their families if their owners decided to trade them for profit, punishment, or to pay debts. A few slaves retaliated by murdering owners and overseers, burning barns, killing horses, or staging work slowdowns.[49] Stampp, without contesting Genovese’s assertions concerning the violence and sexual exploitation faced by slaves, does question the appropriateness of a Marxian approach in analyzing the owner-slave relationship.[50]

Genovese claims that because the slaves were the legal property of their owners, it was not unusual for enslaved black women to be raped by their owners, members of their owner’s families, or their owner’s friends. Children who resulted from such rapes were slaves as well because they took the status of their mothers, unless freed by the slaveholder. Nell Irwin Painter and other historians have also documented that Southern history went “across the color line.” Contemporary accounts by Mary Chesnut and Fanny Kemble, both married in the planter class, as well as accounts by former slaves gathered under the Works Progress Administration (WPA), all attested to the abuse of women slaves by white men of the owning and overseer class.

However, the Nobel economist Robert Fogel controversially describes as a myth the belief that slave-breeding and sexual exploitation destroyed black families. He argues that the family was the basic unit of social organization under slavery, and to the economic interest of slave owners to encourage the stability of slave families, and most of them did so. Most slave sales were either of whole families or of individuals at an age when it would have been normal for them to leave the family.[51] However, eyewitness testimony from former slaves does not support Fogel’s view. Frederick Douglass, who grew up as a slave in Maryland, reported the systematic separation of slave families and widespread rape of slave women to boost slave numbers.[52]

In the early 1930s, members of the Federal Writers’ Project interviewed former slaves, and in doing so, produced the only known original recordings of former slaves. In 2007, the interviews were remastered and reproduced on modern CDs and in book form in conjunction with theLibrary of CongressSmithsonian Productions and a national radio project. In the book and CD oral history project called Remembering Slavery: African Americans Talk About Their Personal Experiences of Slavery and Emancipation, the editors wrote,

As masters applied their stamp to the domestic life of the slave quarter, slaves struggled to maintain the integrity of their families. Slaveholders had no legal obligation to respect the sanctity of the slave’s marriage bed, and slave women—married or single — had no formal protection against their owners’ sexual advances. …Without legal protection and subject to the master’s whim, the slave family was always at risk.” [53]

Some slave women were used for breeding more slaves. Plantation owners would have intimate relations with a female slave in order to produce more slaves. Some slaves were even forced to have sex with others to increase population and increase the amount of slave product on the market.

The book includes examples of enslaved families torn apart when family members were sold out of state and it contains examples of sexual violations of the enslaved people by individuals who held power over them.

According to Genovese, slaves were fed, clothed, housed and provided medical care in the most minimal manner. It was common to pay small bonuses during the Christmasseason, and some slave owners permitted their slaves to keep earnings and gambling profits. (One slave, Denmark Vesey, is known to have won a lottery and bought his freedom.) In many households, treatment of slaves varied with the slave’s skin color. Darker-skinned slaves worked in the fields, while lighter-skinned house servants had comparatively better clothing, food and housing.[49]

As in President Thomas Jefferson‘s household, the presence of lighter-skinned slaves as household servants was not merely an issue of skin color. Sometimes planters used mixed-race slaves as house servants or favored artisans because they were their children or other relatives. Several of Jefferson’s household slaves were children of his father-in-law John Wayles and the enslaved woman Betty Hemings, who were brought to the marriage by Jefferson’s wife. In turn the widower Jefferson had a long relationship with Betty and John Wayle’s daughter Sally Hemings, a much younger enslaved woman who was mostly of white ancestry and half-sister to his late wife. The Hemings children grew up to be closely involved in Jefferson’s household staff activities; one became his chef. Two sons trained as carpenters. Three of his four surviving mixed-race children with Sally Hemings passed into white society as adults.[54]

Planters who had mixed-race children sometimes arranged for their education, even in schools in the North, or as apprentices in crafts. Others settled property on them. Some freed the children and their mothers. While fewer than in the Upper South, free blacks in the Deep South were more often mixed-race children of planters and were sometimes the recipients of transfers of property and social capital. For instance, Wilberforce University, founded by Methodist and African Methodist Episcopal (AME) representatives in Ohio in 1856 for the education of African-American youth, was in its first years largely supported by wealthy southern planters who paid for the education of their mixed-race children. When the war broke out, the school lost most of its 200 students.[55] The college closed for a couple of years before the AME Church bought it and began to operate it.

Fogel argues that the material conditions of the lives of slaves compared favorably with those of free industrial workers. They were not good by modern standards, but this fact emphasizes the hard lot of all workers, free or slave, during the first half of the 19th century. Over the course of his lifetime, the typical slave field hand received about 90% of the income he produced.[51] In a survey, 58% of historians and 42% of economists disagreed with the proposition that the material condition of slaves compared favorably with those of free industrial workers.[51]

Slaves were considered legal non-persons except if they committed crimes. An Alabama court asserted that slaves “are rational beings, they are capable of committing crimes; and in reference to acts which are crimes, are regarded as persons. Because they are slaves, they are incapable of performing civil acts, and, in reference to all such, they are things, not persons.”[56]

In 1811, Arthur William Hodge was the first slave owner executed for the murder of a slave in the British West Indies.[57] However, he was not, as some have claimed, the first white person to have been lawfully executed for the killing of a slave.[58] Records indicate at least two earlier incidents. On November 23, 1739, in Williamsburg, Virginia, two white men, Charles Quin and David White, were hanged for the murder of another white man’s black slave; and on April 21, 1775, the Fredericksburg newspaper, the Virginia Gazette reported that a white man, William Pitman, had been hanged for the murder of his own black slave.[59]

Slave Codes

To help regulate the relationship between slave and owner, including legal support for keeping the slave as property, slave codes were established. While each state would have its own, most of the ideas were shared throughout the slave states. In the codes for the District of Columbia, a slave is defined as “a human being, who is by law deprived of his or her liberty for life, and is the property of another.”[60] A paragraph from the Black Code of South Carolina, still valid in 1863, declared death as the penalty for him who dared “to aid any slave in running away or departing from his master’s or employer’s service.”[61] Codes from other states placed limits on relations allowed between black and white people. Louisiana’s Code Noir did not allow interracial marriage, and if children were a result a fine of three hundred livres would have to be paid. This code also stated children of a slave “shall share the condition of their mother”[62] if the child’s parents had different masters they would stay with the mother, and if the father was free and the mother a slave the children would also be slaves.

Women’s rights

While working on plantations and farms, women and men both had labor-intensive work. However, much of the hard labor was taken care of by men or by women who were past the child-bearing stage. Some of the labor-intensive jobs given to women were: cooking for the owner’s household as well as the slaves themselves, sewing, midwifery, pruning fields, and many other laborious occupations.

In 1837, an Antislavery Convention of American Women met in New York City with both black and white women participating. While Frederick Douglass claims the unity of the anti-slavery cause and the fight for women’s rights, saying, “When the true history of the antislavery cause shall be written, women will occupy a large space in its pages, for the cause of the slave has been peculiarly woman’s cause.” [Life and Times of Frederick Douglass , 1881] Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton had first met at the convention and realized the need for a separate women’s rightsmovement. At the London gathering Stanton also met other women delegates such as Emily Winslow, Abby Southwick, Elizabeth Neal, Mary Grew, Abby Kimber, as well as many other women. However, during the Massachusetts Anti-slavery Society meetings, which Stanton and Winslow attended, the hosts refused to seat the women delegates. This resulted in a convention of their own to form a “society to advocate the rights of women”. In 1848 at Seneca Falls, New York, Stanton and Winslow launched the women’s rights movement, becoming one of the most diverse and social forces in American life.[63]

Abolitionist movement

Beginning in the 1750s, there was widespread sentiment during the American Revolution that slavery was a social evil (for the country as a whole and for the whites) and should eventually be abolished. All the Northern states passed emancipation acts between 1780 and 1804; most of these arranged for gradual emancipation and a special status for freedmen, so there were still a dozen “permanent apprentices” in New Jersey in 1860.[64]

The Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 declared all men “born free and equal”; the slave Quock Walker sued for his freedom on this basis and won his freedom, thus abolishing slavery in Massachusetts.

Throughout the first half of the 19th century, a movement to end slavery grew in strength throughout the United States. This struggle took place amid strong support for slavery among white Southerners, who profited greatly from the system of enslaved labor. These slave owners began to refer to slavery as the “peculiar institution” in a defensive attempt to differentiate it from other examples of forced labor.

In the early part of the 19th century, a variety of organizations were established advocating the movement of black people from the United States to locations where they would enjoy greater freedom; some endorsedcolonization, while others advocated emigration. During the 1820s and 1830s the American Colonization Society(A.C.S.) was the primary vehicle for proposals to return black Americans to greater freedom and equality in Africa,[65] and in 1821 the A.C.S. established colony of Liberia, assisting thousands of former African-American slaves and free black people (with legislated limits) to move there from the United States. Many white people saw this as preferable to emancipation in America, with A.C.S founder Henry Clay believing; “unconquerable prejudice resulting from their color, they never could amalgamate with the free whites of this country. It was desirable, therefore, as it respected them, and the residue of the population of the country, to drain them off”.[66] Clay argued that as blacks could never be fully integrated into U.S. society due to “unconquerable prejudice” by white Americans, it would be better for them to emigrate to Africa.[66] Slaveholders opposed freedom for blacks, but saw repatriation as a way of avoiding rebellions.

In the early part of the 19th century, a variety of organizations were established advocating the movement of black people from the United States to locations where they would enjoy greater freedom; some endorsedcolonization, while others advocated emigration. During the 1820s and 1830s the American Colonization Society(A.C.S.) was the primary vehicle for proposals to return black Americans to greater freedom and equality in Africa,[65] and in 1821 the A.C.S. established colony of Liberia, assisting thousands of former African-American slaves and free black people (with legislated limits) to move there from the United States. Many white people saw this as preferable to emancipation in America, with A.C.S founder Henry Clay believing; “unconquerable prejudice resulting from their color, they never could amalgamate with the free whites of this country. It was desirable, therefore, as it respected them, and the residue of the population of the country, to drain them off”.[66] Clay argued that as blacks could never be fully integrated into U.S. society due to “unconquerable prejudice” by white Americans, it would be better for them to emigrate to Africa.[66] Slaveholders opposed freedom for blacks, but saw repatriation as a way of avoiding rebellions.

After 1830, a religious movement led by William Lloyd Garrison declared slavery to be a personal sin and demanded the owners repent immediately and start the process of emancipation. The movement was highly controversial and was a factor in causing the American Civil War.

Very few abolitionists, such as John Brown, favored the use of armed force to foment uprisings among the slaves; others tried to use the legal system.

Influential leaders of the abolition movement (1810–60) included:

Slave uprisings that used armed force (1700–1859) include:

An animation showing when United States territories and states forbade or allowed slavery, 1789-1861.

    1. February 27, 2010 at 12:27 am

      I got a lot of information.

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