The End of African Slavery

After the Revolutionary War the young United States of America was looking to change its ways. As a now independent Nation they looked to set their own identity. One of the things they did was in 1807 they ended what was known as the African Slave Trade. The end of the African Slave Trade was unknowingly the first step towards the American Civil War.

With the discovery of the new world all kinds of people traveled to the new Colonies in hopes of prosperity. One of the ways the found they were able to do this was setting up farms and growing tobacco. Tobacco was the number one product coming out of the southern states. Initially the large planters used indentured servants to tend to the fields. Between the 1650s and 1680s servants continued to be imported at the rate of some 1,000 per year. (Mitchell, 1983) As the servants would work and pay off their debt to the large planters they would earn their freedom yet find that jobs were tough to find.

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There were few opportunities in the area and they found themselves serving as domestic servants and tradesman. Others were able to become middle planters working mostly for the large planters. As Englands employment opportunities increased, servants became less available and the planters began to shift from servants towards slavery. As tobacco continued to be the main source of trade for the large planters and with a rapid reduction of indentured servants, the Chesapeake society shifted to slavery. The colonies began using the well-established African Slave Trade.

Prior to the Revolutionary War Great Britain imported African Slaves primarily through the Royal Africa Company. This was an enormous revenue generator for Great Britain, as they taxed all imported slaves to the new Colonies. As the years went on the Colonies would use their own taxe policy to regulate the amount of slaves in their area. As the population of slaves would increase to point that they were to majority or that the threat of rebellion existed, they would put a high tax on them. As the population would begin to come back down they would decrease the tax. This worked for many years until the Revolutionary War began. The Colonies wanted to ban the import of slaves but Great Britain wouldnt allow it. During the Revolutionary War the Colonies stopped slave trade with Great Britain to end another means of revenue for them. After the War the United States passed legislation for the government to tax and control the import of slaves to America. In 1807 they passed more legislation and terminated the use of the African Slave Trade.

With the closing of the African slave trade in 1807 the American people saw this as a huge humanitarian accomplishment. Unfortunately, it was only the beginning of a new problem. The closing of the African slave trade gave way to the new American slave trade. Now that no more slaves were being imported, the slaves that were on hand would become a much more valuable asset.

Virginians found themselves with a surplus of slaves after the demand for tobacco had fallen. So not only did they help end the African slave trade, they promoted the expansion west of new settlers. The settlers would need slaves to help cultivate the land and bring profits to the new planters. One of the largest purchasers of slaves was the south west. These cotton farmers depended on the slaves to tend to their lands. This expansion increased the price of a slave to an all-time high bringing wealth to the slave owners in Virginia.

As the south western states became more populated and wealthier, they became the more powerful states in the south. With the election of President Abraham Lincoln, the threat of abolishing slavery was eminent. They threaten that if any upper southern states didnt succeed with them that they would no longer be allowed to sell their slaves to southern states. This would lead Virginia to join the Confederate States. They would have ended up with a surplus of slaves with no one to sell them to which at the time was their main source of revenue.

The southern states felt that if slavery was abolished it would ruin the economy in the south. Not only would the planters lose their labor on their lands but that their lands would become useless. This would not only affect the southern states but the entire countries banks, stocks, and bonds.This led to the succession of the south and to the Civil War.

When the United States of America ending all imported slaves from the African Slave Trade they just created a new monster. The American Slave trade brought much wealth to the Virginia slave owners and economical and political power of the south western states. These States saw the abolishment of slavery as a huge blow to their way of life. They felt that the only way they could preserve it was succeeded from the Union leading to the American Civil War.

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