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History of Abolitionism and Antebellum in the United States

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In my course, I read about the forms of resistance to slavery, pro-slavery justification, life for “free” Antebellum Northern blacks, and all the hateful discrimination that occurred to African-Americans during that time period. I also read about political and social conflicts that created policies that led to the Civil War which was the war that shaped America to where it is today.

Slavery in the South all the way to the Antebellum period

During the period of the domestic slave trade around 1812 Louisiana became a state. The population grew fast due to the demand for cotton and sugar cane. These crops provided incredible profit to owners in the South. At the time all the gulf coast states such as Alabama, etc. Were called the “ land of king cotton”. The revolt that happened in Saint-Dominque, played an important role in making the Atlantic slave trade illegal. The United States was not trying to experience the same fate as Saint-Dominque. The slave owners down South did not like this decision and started a movement to reopen the Atlantic slave trade. Making the Atlantic slave trade illegal made the interstate slave trade a very profitable business. This opened a profession called slave traders.

The slaves were being advertised across the states. Slaves families were sold together, but some slave owners chose to sell slaves separately to make more profit. Slaves had no human right or freedom at all during this period due to Slaves codes, which played a big role in the South. Slaves were not allowed to leave the plantations unless they had authority which was a slave pass from the owner. The worst part of being a slave was they couldn’t protect themselves at all against white people. The legal system was terrible when determining the length of imprisonment to slaves. Slaves had very little free time to socialize and relax, but they had cultivation periods. Christmas and cultivation periods gave slaves time for themselves. Some slaves were doing anti-slavery advocate that fought for the proper rights that they should have, and some slaves ran away from the terrible conditions. The runaway slaves usually used a system called the underground railroad that had safe houses and routes to the North; this started a period called the Antebellum.

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Antebellum is a Latin term that means “before the war”. During the Antebellum period, the North was full of runaway slaves and free slaves. Free slaves and non-free slaves left the South for a so-called amazing less restricted life up North. African-Americans in the North had more privileges than those in the South, but it wasn’t that different when it came to discrimination. The North allowed African-Americans to be able to express themselves, but that all depended on what state up North. Some states up North weren’t okay with blacks having basic human rights. African-Americans up North were able to travel with ease than the South. Blacks were becoming soldiers, owners, and even paid taxes just like anybody else in the Northern states. Although African-Americans up North were living differently than down South this still didn’t stop them from helping and being outspoken about how the conditions were for African-Americans in the United States. Majority of blacks that lived up North stayed in poverty which was generally an unhealthy environment. Children that were black often was denied public education or was segregated unfunded schools. Some African-Americans were banned from immigration to some states up North. When crimes were involved black people bonds were unsuitable to pay due to job discrimination and the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 caused more problems. For example, when dealing with the legal system The Dred Scott decision in 1857 made it clear that blacks were not citizens of the United States. This decision caused an uproar in the United States. Whites were doing everything in their power to intimidate blacks such as mobs and violence to show they were more superior than blacks.

Abolitionism in black and white to the Civil War

There were three events that help the beginning of the abolitionist William Lloyd Garson – the liberator, Nat Turner rebellion, and David Walker- the appeal. There were different types of abolitionist some pursue violence to prove a point or to pursue non-violence to prove their point. David Walker wrote an appeal in 1829, this appeal started appearing in the Southern states making abolitionist writing prohibited. Due to the appeal slaves was forbidden to learn how to read and write. Walker appeal was one of the most Anti-Slavery document made ever. The appeal gave slaves the motivation to have pride in themselves and fight the negative conditions they are experiencing. Willam Lloyd Garson worked to seek equality between white and black and advocate immediate abolitionism. Willam believed that the South and North was responsible for all the sin that was occurring in the United States. William fought against the American Colonizing Society because some member encouraged freedom and others wanted to relocate free blacks. The relocation was to reduce the number of free blacks to preserve the United States institution of slavery. William was accused of the rebellion in Virginia due to claims that he encouraged Nat Turner. Nat Turner leads the rebellion in 1831, his result was to pursue the mistreatment with violence. The rebellion lasted for a total of six months until he was executed. The violence put fear into Southerners ending the Emancipation movement and making harsher laws on slaves.

Women also played a significant role in abolitionism. Women gathered an enormous amount of signatures for petitions and sold items they made themselves. These few women were very known for their work to help the course. Sojourner Truth was moving an audience with powerful words, Mary Ann Shadd was publishing about the mistreatment, Harriet Tubman who did thirteen mission to rescue the enslave, etc. had a very big impact in the abolitionism. All the individuals that were abolitionist helped gained momentum to start conflict for change for example Civil War. The Civil War started between the North and South having differences in how the United States should be. In 1860, Abraham Lincoln won election as first Republican president that pledge to keep slavery out of territory up North. This made the Southerns very angry causing them to secede and make a new nation called “The Confederate States of America”. On April 12, 1861, The Confederate army started a war by firing at the United States Fort Sumter. Lincoln release the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, to set all slaves free down South. Slaves didn’t know of this Proclamation because slave owners kept it a secret. The Proclamation was used as a war tactic to make sure the union won the Civil War. The Northern states won the Civil War and preserved the United States as one nation. In conclusion, each of these chapters taught how the events from slavery to the conflict of African-Americans becoming freed change the nation that everyone loves the United States of America.

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History of Abolitionism and Antebellum in the United States. (2023, January 31). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 6, 2023, from
“History of Abolitionism and Antebellum in the United States.” Edubirdie, 31 Jan. 2023,
History of Abolitionism and Antebellum in the United States. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 6 Jun. 2023].
History of Abolitionism and Antebellum in the United States [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Jan 31 [cited 2023 Jun 6]. Available from:
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