Abolishing Slavery In America

Maggie MacLean asked:

All of the Northern states in America had different policies concerning slavery before the American Revolution. In some areas of the country where religious groups such as the Quakers played a prominent role in political life, there was strong opposition to having slaves. Rhode Island was the first state to abolish slavery in 1774, followed by:

Vermont in 1777

Pennsylvania in 1780

Massachusetts in 1781

New Hampshire in 1783

Connecticut in 1784

New York in 1799

New Jersey in 1804

These states never allowed slavery within their borders:










The Antislavery Movement

The importation of slaves from other countries was banned in 1808, but the selling of slaves within US borders continued. Conflict grew during the 19th century between the northern and southern states over the issue of slavery. The northern states were going through an industrial revolution and desperately needed people to work in its factories. Industrialists in the North believed that, if freed, the slaves would leave the South and provide the labor they needed.

In 1831, Arthur and Lewis Tappan established the first Antislavery Society in New York. Two years later it became a national organization, and Arthur Tappan was elected its first president. Other early abolitionists (people who actively fought to end slavery) soon emerged as leaders of the movement:

Angelina and Sarah Grimke

Frederick Douglass

John Greenleaf Whittier

Lucretia Mott

Lydia Maria Child

Robert Purvis

Samuel Eli Cornish

Theodore Weld

Wendell Phillips

William Lloyd Garrison

William Wells Brown

The organization’s main supporters were from religious groups, such as the Quakers, and from the free black community. By 1840, the society had 250,000 members and 2,000 local chapters.

The Fugitive Slave Law

In 1850 Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Law. Its main provision was that any federal marshal who did not arrest an alleged runaway slave could be fined $1,000. A person suspected of being a runaway slave could be arrested and turned over to any person who gave sworn testimony of ownership. A suspected slave could not ask for a jury trial nor testify on his or her own behalf.

Any person who aided a runaway slave by providing shelter, food or any other form of assistance would be sentenced to six months’ imprisonment and a $1,000 fine. Officers who captured a fugitive slave were entitled to a fee, and this encouraged some officers to kidnap free African Americans and sell them to slaveowners.

The Kansas-Nebraska Act

In 1854, Stephen Douglas introduced his Kansas-Nebraska bill to the Senate. It allowed people in the territories of Kansas and Nebraska to decide for themselves whether or not to allow slavery within their borders. The Act effectively repealed the Missouri Compromise of 1820 which prohibited slavery north of latitude 36

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8 Responses to “Abolishing Slavery In America”

  1. lucy says:

    sorry i meant to say NOT against white people lost track of what i was writting

  2. lucy says:

    just saying that im against white people im just talking about the ones back then….

  3. lucy says:

    why were white people so racists towards blck people thank the lord that doesnt happened these days because im black myself , and i love how we are all ONE now

  4. f. arreola says:

    it was vermont then rode island

  5. […] like a devout Marxist. Michael Moore forgot to mention that five states abolished slavery before the Constitution was even ratified. And within 100 years Republican […]

  6. D. Burke says:

    I noticed that on this post, Rhode Island is listed first, abolishing slavery in 1774, whereas another list has it as 1784. Which one is correct?

  7. Franklin says:

    I would just like to say, that due to a recent poll, it shows that african americans actually enjoy the forced labour and abuse. I’m black, and I’d appreciate it very much if you stopped trying to destroy my love of abuse.

  8. B. Nash says:

    Is there a “Part 2″ to this post in the future? If so it should start with Abraham Lincoln’s opposition to the Kansas-Nebraska Act.

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