Abolishing Slavery In America

   Posted by: Various Authors   in History

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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This entry was posted on Sunday, December 5th, 2010 at 12:12 pm and is filed under History. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

7 comments so far

B. Nash

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.

December 5th, 2010 at 8:19 pm

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.

February 24th, 2011 at 5:51 pm
D. Burke

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?

May 8th, 2011 at 5:11 pm
f. arreola

it was vermont then rode island

October 25th, 2012 at 12:19 pm

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

May 14th, 2013 at 12:09 am

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

May 14th, 2013 at 12:10 am

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

May 14th, 2013 at 12:11 am

One Trackback/Ping

  1. Michael Moore: This Is a Nation Founded on Genocide and Built on the Backs of Slaves (Video) | FavStocks    Jan 21 2012 / 3am:

    […] 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 […]

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