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The History of Slavery in America.

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´╗┐Jacina Hall December 4, 2012 Melissa Blair US History Against All Odds African Americans have come along way over the years. They have experienced a lot of trials and tribulations to get to the point that they are at today. Slavery was a big road block that African Americans had to get through and although they surpassed it, it was everything but easy. The ?land of the free? America we know today, has not always been exactly ?free.? In the early 17th century, Americans brought people from Africa to North America on ships and made them slaves. It could take, on average, two months, if the weather was good to get slaves over here and they ship wrecks happened frequently. Of all the slaves that came into North America only ten percent lived in Pennsylvania and further North. Slaves were often purchased by wealthy people in order to complete domestic tasks such as cooking, gardening and house work. Division of labor was a little evident as there were two primary jobs: women worked as maids or cooks and men were employed by business owners to perform manual labor such as building and loading ships. Slaves were often assigned names instead of being asked what their names were and the often found themselves receiving stricter punishments for committing the same crimes as white men. ...read more.


Slaves got introduced to the task system, which is where they all had tasks that they were expected to have completed by the end of the day. The creation of the task system was positive for slaves because the overseers were now likely to be African American. Slaves also had to deal with false hope. They planned rebellions such as the Stone-O Rebellion in South Carolina. The Spanish and the British were on bad terms and due to their disputes the Spanish promised freedom to slaves if they could make it to Florida. Unfortunately, the South Carolina militia caught them before they made it to Florida and passed a law to fine slave owners who did not appropriately punish their slaves. Another hope for African Americans was when President George Washington passed the Northwest Ordinance banning slavery. The Northwest Ordinance banned slavery strictly in territories in the North West. The Northern and Southern parts of America were still split in their views towards slavery. In the North they felt as if slaves were okay to be let free, but in the south they wanted to keep slavery alive because slavery was vital to southern prosperity. The issues of Emancipation versus Manumission started to arise which made Congress decide in 1780 that any child born into slavery would be a slave and once they turned 28 then they can be set free. ...read more.


The Fugitive Slave Act led to many African Americans fleeing to Canada to avoid being falsely captured. Slavery had a lot of contradictions and one popular contradiction is that of the Dred Scot decision. Is it really lawful to go from being a slave to a free man and then back to a slave again? This is the exact same question that pondered in the mind of Dred Scot. In the mid-19th century a presidential candidate by the name of Abraham Lincoln comes along and helps pave the pathway that would soon put an end to the drawn out disputes over slavery. He agreed with the idea of Free Soilers, meaning residents that lived on free land, were in fact free. He stated, ?Free soil is a step to the absolute extinction of slavery.? Abraham Lincoln would go on to win the Election of 1860 and shortly after on January 1, 1863 during the Civil War, he passed the Emancipation Proclamation which freed all slaves forever. Overall, there were a lot of circumstances and situations that African Americans encountered on their road to get through and eventually surpass slavery. All the hard beatings, long hours in the fields and failed attempts at running away were small stepping stones on route to a better life for themselves as well as their families. They helped to shape America into a better place for all generations that have followed and will continue in years to come. ...read more.

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