Civil War Slavery Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1341 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: American History

Slavery is a dark stain on America's past. The "peculiar institution" lasted far longer in the United States than it did elsewhere in the world, and became solidly entrenched in American politics, culture, and economics during the first century of America's existence. From the time the union was formed, slavery was a contentious issue that created sectionalism. While several northern states limited or banned slavery altogether, the southern states held tight to the institution. Slaveholding states resisted all attempts by the federal government to impose rules or injunctions. Regional differences between slaveholding and free states directly led to the Civil War in the 1860s. Yet the legacy of slavery lived on long after the Emancipation Proclamation. The 13th Amendment to the Constitution, ratified after the end of the war in 1865, abolished slavery for good. The 14th and 15th Amendments then guaranteed freed slaves citizenship, equal protection under the law, and for males, the right to vote. However, slavery had created an epidemic of racism that continues to haunt American society.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Term Paper on Civil War Slavery Assignment

A ban on slave importation was set for 1808 at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, essentially extending the international slave trade another twenty years. By this early point in American history, slavery had not yet become as contentious an issue as it would several decades later, especially after religious revivalist movement called the Great Awakening swept through the nation. Moreover, European nations one by one abolished the trade, setting the stage for an eventual international moratorium. While the Americans attempted to enslave the Native Americans, ultimately most slaves in the United States were of African descent. The three-fifths rule was one of the initial compromises made at the Constitutional Convention, a compromise that illustrated the extent of sectionalism and the peculiar politics of slavery. For political and tax reasons, slaves would be counted as three-fifths of a free man. Thus, while slavery was definitely an economic issue, it was also a politically-charged one, even before 1800. Fugitive slave laws, proportionate representation in congress, the Electoral College, control over trade, control over slave rebellions, and federalism were all political issues that were related to slavery.

In 1790, the first American census was taken, revealing that 757,000 blacks resided in the United States, about 19-20% of the total population. Of these African slaves, only 8 or 9% were free. Pennsylvania and Rhode Island were among the earliest states to abolish slavery. Traditionally, the former English colonies, which became the New England states, were anti-slavery, whereas the Southern agricultural states which had fewer ties to the mother country, maintained their way of life. Especially after the invention of the cotton gin in 1793, slave-owning was a hugely profitable enterprise for the plantation owner. Raw materials like cotton and tobacco grown in the south would be shipped to the northern states and to Europe. Thus, even though many of the northern states had abolished slavery, their economy was indirectly linked to the "peculiar institution." Virginia had the most slaves of any other state. From 1756 till 1790, Virginia had actually doubled its slave population from 100,000 to 200,000. More than half of all persons of African descent lived in Virginia or Maryland by the 1790s (Becker). In contrast, some New England states like New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont, had no slaves on record.

The abolitionist movement began in the eighteenth century. One of the first known formal abolitionist societies was founded in Philadelphia by a freedman named Richard Allen. The Free African Society was one of Allen's projects; the other was the African Methodist Episcopal Church, one of the first fully African-American churches that responded to the ban on blacks in some "white" churches. Even among southerners, abolitionism went hand-in-hand with religion, even though many slave owners defended the "peculiar institution" by referring to the Bible. In fact, the Southern Baptist Convention of 1845 publicly proclaimed that slavery was a Biblically-sanctioned practice, a view that was not universally shared among American Baptist societies and was expressly opposed by Baptists in the American… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Civil War Slavery" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Civil War Slavery.  (2005, May 25).  Retrieved January 26, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Civil War Slavery."  25 May 2005.  Web.  26 January 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Civil War Slavery."  May 25, 2005.  Accessed January 26, 2021.