Slavery in the United States was the legal establishment of human enslavement. Primarily African’s and African Americans, that only existed in the world we live in, they never got to truly live it. Slavery was started in British American from the colonial days, and it was legal in all thirteen colonies. Slavery was involved throughout the American colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries. Slavery started in American in 1619, throughout the 17th century, this is when European settlers in North America lowered the price of African slaves because they became more useful for labor needs then regular servants. Historians believe that between six to seven million black slaves were imported to the New World during the 18th century. Black slaves worked mainly on the tobacco and rice plantations on the southern coast. These were more of the Chesapeake Bay colonies of Maryland and Virginia. Native American slaves were transferred to the Northern colonies as well as other off shore colonies. Even after the Indian slave trade ended in 1750 the enslavement of Native Americans continued in the west.
Slavery was caused by economic matters of the English settlers in the late 17th century. Colonists frequently tried to appeal laborers to the colony. The system was to give the servants, a technique of becoming independent after a number of years of service. Slavery was caused by economic reasons. Colonists primarily relied on indentured slavery, in order to simplify their need for labor. The declining population combined with a need for a labor force, which led the colonists to believe that African slaves were the most efficient way to gain a labor force that would please their needs. Before the 1680’s the population of the Indentured Servants reduced, exponentially. There were a number of different reasons why the population of indentured servants had decreased. Indentured servants were running away from their temporary masters, to find employment where they could become independent. After the American Revolution, many colonists especially in the North because this is where slavery was insignificant to the agricultural culture.
The new U.S. Constitution recognized the institution of slavery, they counted each slave as three fifths of a person, due to taxation and representation in Congress. In the late 18th century, the land to grow tobacco became hard to maintain, this became an economic crisis in the South. This is when the cotton gin came into play. In 1793, a teacher by the name of Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin. It was a mechanical device that efficiently removed the seeds. This became a huge known invention and a few years later the South transitioned from tobacco to cotton. Slaves in the south counted for about one third of the southern population. Most slaves lived on large plantations, many masters owned up to fifty slaves. The slave owners prohibited them from learning to read and write. Many masters took sexual liberties with slave women, and rewards respectful slave behavior with favors while disobedient slaves were brutally punished. Slave marriages had no legal foundation, but slaves did get marry and raise large families; most slave owners encouraged this but would never care or hesitate to divide slave families by sale or removal. The abolitionist movement began in the 1830’s and went until the 1860’s. This movement to abolish slavery in America gained power and was led by free blacks some names including Frederick Douglass and white supporters like William Lloyd Garrison founder of the newspaper called The Liberator. Harriet Beecher Stowe was another one he is more well known for publishing the bestselling novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Many objectors based on their belief that slaveholding was a sin, others were more persuaded to the non- religious ‘free labor” argument, this was saying slaveholding was wasteful and made little economic sense. Other antislavery northerners had begun assisting fugitive slaves escape from southern plantations to the North by using safe houses. This was known as the Underground Railroad, this helped 40,000 to 100,000 slaves reach freedom.
The Missouri Compromise was when America expanded westward in the 19th century. This would create a disagreement over slavery in America and its future expansion. In 1820, a harsh debate over the federal government’s right to limit slavery over Missouri’s application for statehood ended in a compromise. Missouri was then acknowledged to the Union as a slave state, Maine became a free state and all western territories north of Missouri’s southern border were to be free soil. The Kansas Nebraska Act was another questionable compromise. This was negotiated to resolve the question of slavery in territories won during the Mexican American War.
However, four years later this act released all new territories to slavery by declaring the rule of popular sovereignty over congressional statute, leading pro and anti-slavery forces to battle it out. The Civil War was a breaking point for the south. When Abraham Lincoln a republican candidate was elected as president. Within the next three months, seven southern states had separated to form the Confederate States of American. Lincoln was against slavery, but before he could abolish slavery, he needed to preserve the United States as a nation. On September 22, 1862, Lincoln issued a introductory emancipation proclamation, and on January 1, 1863 he made it official that slaves within any state shall be forever free.
Three million black slaves in the rebel states became free. The 13th Amendment, was adopted on December 18, 1865. It officially abolished slavery, but freed black status in the post war, South remained dangerous and significant challenges were nearing during the Reconstruction period. Previous slaves received the rights of citizenship and the equal protection of the Constitution in the 14th Amendment and the right to vote in the 15th Amendment. Their provisions of Constitution were often ignored or violated, and it was hard for former slaves to gain a foothold in the post war economy thanks to restrictive black codes and regressive contractual arrangements such as sharecropping. Sharecropping was a ‘form of agriculture in which a landowner allows a tenant to use the land in return for a share of the crops produced on their portion of land”.
The worst was over on June 22, 1865 following the Proclamation, we still identify this day in many US states because it is the day that federal troops arrived in Texas to implement the emancipation. The day of gaining freedom in Texas is now celebrated as ‘Juneteenth”. The 13th Amendment of the Constitution knew that without legislation it’s form of laws along with law enforcement agencies to uphold the laws, there would be no true end to slavery, and this is the reason for the 13th Amendment authorizing congress to create these laws. The Reconstruction Era was a crucial part to American history. During this time federal troops were positioned in the south specifically to protect black rights and prevent them from being re-enslaved. Emancipation brought freedom, the civil rights movement bumped down Jim Crow, but ruins remained. Affirmative action created opportunities, but the racism continues. This disagreement makes sense because of an essentially racist point of view. In other words, blacks will always be the victims regardless of how much time has passed. Nevertheless, how far away from the event ones gets. The whites will forever be guilty, even if they individually never obligated the slightest crime against anyone. It’s guilt by association and in this case the association to skin color. Any way you look at it, that’s racism.
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