• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Abolishing slavery.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Abolishing slavery Abolishing Slavery In May of 1787, three of the largest slaveholders in the Confederate States met with other wealthy men to compose a Constitution for a group of states who had won their freedom from Great Britain. The newly freed states were under threat of breaking up for financial reasons. These states were a collection of "special interest groups" who met in Philadelphia to balance "political idealism with political expediency," writes Kenneth C. Davis (Davis 85). As they designed their new government, two problems arose. "The first was representation. Should Congress be based on population.... The second question was that of slavery.... Faced with growing abolitionist sentiments, the southern delegates would not bend on questions affecting slavery, nor would they grant freed black slaves the vote. On the other hand, they wanted slaves counted for the purpose of determining representation in Congress" (Davis 86). From there, it took compromise, political campaigns, revolts and civil war before African Americans received legal emancipation. When the first census was taken in 1790, there were 757,000 blacks in the United States, and nine out of ten were slaves-by 1860, three years before emancipation, there were four million slaves. ...read more.

Middle

This began a system of bounty hunting where freed slaves required an Affidavit verifying their free status (Davis 149-151). However, the system only served to enslave emancipated and runaway slaves. One of the first to challenge this law in the courts was Dred Scott, whose white master had died and left him in a northern state. Scott's owner had stated to him that he was free upon his death, but Scott did not have the paperwork to prove it. In 1857 the Supreme Court ruled that Scott had no residence rights in the free state in which his master had died and left him. The court stated that slavery could not be prohibited in free states, and therefore, Scott was not free and had to be handed over as part of the dead owner's estate (Davis 158). This decision divided north and south even more. The thought of a divided America was unreasonable to many of the political leaders, whose job it was to keep the states united. One hundred years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the United States was in danger of separating over the slave issue. Not only were Americans blind to this fact, wrote Garrison, but they also were becoming unemotional to the whole condition of slavery. ...read more.

Conclusion

(Ravitch 115). Douglass also raised the question, why has this issue not been resolved? Abraham Lincoln agreed with him. In 1858, Lincoln expressed his concern for the divided nation and his impatience with the Senate for its ineffectiveness in passing the legislation that he believed could save the country. If an antislavery bill was not passed soon, he foresaw the destruction of the United States. In his speech to the Senate, Lincoln spoke his famous words, "a house divided against itself cannot stand" (Ravitch 119). Lincoln challenged Senator Stephen Douglas to a number of public debates during his campaign for the presidency. In the most famous of those debates, on October 15, 1858, Douglas claimed Lincoln's statement that "negro equality was an inalienable right" to be false. Douglas also refuted the divine right of freedom. Lincoln called slavery morally, socially and politically wrong, and argued that slavery was the only issue that could destroy the country. For that reason alone, he said slavery should be abolished (Ravitch 126). Lincoln won the election, proving that slavery was held to be wrong by the voting citizens of the United States. However, the issue was not resolved. The south seceded from the union, and it was only after a bloody Civil War that Abraham Lincoln was able to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, effective January 1, 1863, freeing the slaves. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level History of the USA, 1840-1968 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level History of the USA, 1840-1968 essays

  1. Describe the methods used by the Abolitionist movement in their campaign against slavery in ...

    Although the book was quite fictionalised, it made anti-slavery attitude much more. Harriet Beecham Stowe made slavery altogether more publicised and her sometimes exaggerated narrative only served to determine the northerner's opinions of the practise of owning slaves. William Lloyd Garrison is not such a famous name, but he was

  2. Linguistic Study - Linguistic Analysis of Martin Luther King's 'I Have a Dream', and ...

    Kings forces people of all colours to face the issues, which is one of the reasons his speech was so influential. A feature I have highlighted here is an example of a non-fluency utterance, which is often found in spoken language.

  1. Rosalia Vallejo. Prior to the Bear Flag Revolt, which occurred in 1846, Californio Women ...

    Many of the elite families throughout California had suddenly been pushed down on the hierarchical ladder; they had suddenly become the equivalent of any ordinary family. Aside from that, De la Guerra had encountered a Frenchman named Eugene Duflot de Mofras, who visited and stayed at her house for a couple of weeks.

  2. The Underground Railroad

    Slaves knew they were headed north by feeling the sides of tress. Moss grows thickest on the northern side of a tree. Slaves also used the North Star as a compass, and the Big Dipper helped slaves locate the North Star.

  1. To what extent do you agree with Abraham Lincoln that slavery was 'somehow the ...

    Emancipation of slaves was not one of the war aims until 1862 . In Lincoln's letter to Horace Greely he wrote 'If I could save the Union without freeing all the slaves I would do it'. Lincoln desperately wanted to save the Union Overall, in this way nationalism could be seen as a cause of the Civil War.

  2. It is hard to pinpoint the exact beginnings of slavery in the United States. ...

    Should they resign themselves to a life of servitude, they had no rights, no money, no liberty; or should they rage and rebel against their servility? Slavery was a complex and contradictory system, but was too profitable to abolish. White men profited from the domination of the African-Americans, a powerful example of white supremacy.

  1. Abraham Lincoln has been depicted as the American Hero who abolished slavery.

    Even a 'Free State' hurt the southern slave owners as this enabled runaway slaves a respite from persecution. Abraham Lincoln a Republican was elected President in 1860. The southern states were concerned that Lincoln would abolish slavery and consequently started to leave the Union.

  2. Essay on Frederick Douglass's views about slavery in the city and slavery on plantations

    Depending on their size, plantations included a gathering of buildings: the homes of the master's family, overseer, and slaves, as well as outbuildings, barns, and workshops.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work