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The Characteristics Of Early American Slavery

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During the 1700’s and a large portion of the 1800’s, slavery was a huge issue in the United States. There were many reasons for this, such as the inhabilita of the state and federal government to come to an agreement, but it was mainly because of the minds of northerners and southerners who wouldn’t change their views on slavery. Northerners knew that it was wrong to treat human beings as pieces of property, regardless of the color of their skin. On the other hand, southerners didn’t care that they were humans, because they didn’t seem like people to them. As our country physically expanded its land westward, slavery became more and more prevalent. As time progressed in our nation, a growing amount of people started to oppose slavery as a result of being exposed to other people’s views.The increasing opposition of slavery from 1776 to 1852 was caused by the effects of revolutionary types of expression regarding slavery and the newly acquired land as a result of war.

Two of the most dominant figures at this time for abolitionism included William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass. Frederick Douglass was a free black man who was once a slave and wrote a very important autobiography, The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. In Document G, he expresses to the readers what makes his autobiography so important: it gave an inside view into the mind of a man who was once a slave, and what their conditions were truly like as well as how they mentally felt that they were being treated. William Lloyd Garrison was argueably more persuasive to people who were pro-slavery, since he was white. He had a newspaper, known as The Liberator, where he discussed his beliefs on the abolition of slavery, shown in Document E. During this time, racism was at its peak, so a lot more white people most likely would listen to him than a former slave.

As America started to gain more and more land, they needed to find some sort of solution to the problem. In this case, they started by looking back to an older document, The Northwest Land Ordinance of 1787. This allowed the government to decide how to merge the new territory with the pre-existing states, and decide which ones would be slave states, as well as which ones would be free states as mentioned in Document A. However, When America won the Mexican cession in the Mexican war, they were conflicted as to what kind of state it would be categorized as. Fortunately, David Wilmont, as shown in Document H, present the Welmont Provision banning slaves in the new territories, but his plan failed.

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Official documents that were used to make final rules about controversial situations were used in the past, The Compromise of 1850 was put in place for dealing with slavery. The Compromise was initially intended to solve the issue with the newly acquired Mexican territory, but it ended up being used for much more. Even though there needed to be a perfect balance of slave states and free states, California still did not want to have slavery. As a result, Washington D.C. would not be able to participate in any form of slave trade. To keep the balance, the southern states received popular sovereignty and even more importantly a new fugitive slave law. This would mean that escaped slaves would now have to escape to Canada to have their freedom, rather than just escaping to a free-state in the north. This seriously angered the abolitionists in the north as it went against their side, shown in Document F.

Unfortunately, unlike the North, southerners were holding onto their idea of slavery more than ever rather than pushing away from it. Northerners were being persuaded by new abolitionist writing and the harsh new laws that were being set, but the south was not. In the southern states their agriculture based life-style was too demanding for them to quit using slaves. Therefore, the opinion of slavery were static and stayed the same for a long time in the south.

In conclusion, America struggled wtih slavery for several years until people started changing their opinions on its rules and treatement of African American. Northern civilians had a drastic realization on the hardships of slavery, but the south continued to sit in their old fashion and cruel ways. This change of heart for the North was brought about after citizens were being exposed to passionate writing from abolitionists and the acquirement of new land in the U.S.

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The Characteristics Of Early American Slavery. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 6, 2023, from
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