Fugitive Slave Act of 1850
The Act was one of the most controversial elements of the 1850 compromise and heightened Northern fears of a slave power conspiracy. It required that all escaped slaves were, upon capture, to be returned to their masters, abolitionists nicknamed it the Bloodhound Law for the dogs that were used to track down runaway slaves. By 1843, several hundred slaves a year were escaping to the North. It sought to force the authorities in free states to return slaves to their masters. Many Northern states wanted to circumvent the Fugitive Slave Act, in some cases, juries refused to convict individuals who had been indicted under the Federal law. The Fugitive Slave Law dealt with slaves who escaped to free states without their masters consent. The U. S. Supreme Court ruled, in Prigg v. Pennsylvania and runaway blacks found Cass County a haven. Their good fortune attracted the attention of southern slaveholders, in 1847 and 1849, planters from Bourbon and Boone counties in northern Kentucky led raids into Cass County to recapture runaway slaves.
The raids failed but the situation contributed to Southern demands in 1850 for passage of the strengthened Fugitive Slave Act, Southern politicians often exaggerated the number of escaped slaves and often blamed escapes on Northerners interfering with Southern property rights. Since there was no way to confirm the number of runaway slaves, law-enforcement officials everywhere were required to arrest people suspected of being a runaway slave on as little as a claimants sworn testimony of ownership. The suspected slave could not ask for a trial or testify on his or her own behalf. In addition, any person aiding a slave by providing food or shelter was subject to six months imprisonment. Officers who captured a fugitive slave were entitled to a bonus or promotion for their work, Slave owners needed only to supply an affidavit to a Federal marshal to capture an escaped slave. The Act adversely affected the prospects of slave escape, particularly in close to the North. In 1859 in Ableman v. Booth, the U. S.
Supreme Court overruled the state court, in November 1850, the Vermont legislature passed the Habeas Corpus Law, requiring Vermont judicial and law enforcement officials to assist captured fugitive slaves. It established a judicial process, parallel to the federal process. This law rendered the federal Fugitive Slave Act effectively unenforceable in Vermont and it was considered a nullification of federal law, a concept popular in the South among states that wanted to nullify other aspects of federal law, and was part of highly charged debates over slavery. Noted poet and abolitionist John Greenleaf Whittier had called for laws
In the 19th century, manifest destiny was a widely held belief in the United States that its settlers were destined to expand across North America. Generated by the potentialities of a new earth for building a new heaven, historians have emphasized that manifest destiny was a contested concept—pre-civil war Democrats endorsed the idea but many prominent Americans rejected it. Historian Daniel Walker Howe writes, American imperialism did not represent an American consensus, Whigs saw Americas moral mission as one of democratic example rather than one of conquest. The term was used by Democrats in the 1840s to justify the war with Mexico, but manifest destiny always limped along because of its internal limitations and the issue of slavery, says Merk. It never became a national priority, Merk concluded, From the outset Manifest Destiny—vast in program, in its sense of continentalism—was slight in support. It lacked national, sectional, or party following commensurate with its magnitude, the reason was it did not reflect the national spirit.
The thesis that it embodied nationalism, found in historical writing, is backed by little real supporting evidence. There was never a set of principles defining manifest destiny, therefore it was always a general rather than a specific policy made with a motto. Andrew Jackson, who spoke of extending the area of freedom, typified the conflation of Americas potential greatness, the nations budding sense of Romantic self-identity, yet Jackson would not be the only president to elaborate on the principles underlying manifest destiny. Owing in part to the lack of a definitive narrative outlining its rationale, while many writers focused primarily upon American expansionism, be it into Mexico or across the Pacific, others saw the term as a call to example. Without an agreed upon interpretation, much less a political philosophy. This variety of possible meanings was summed up by Ernest Lee Tuveson, A vast complex of ideas and they are not, as we should expect, all compatible, nor do they come from any one source.
This destiny was not explicitly territorial, but OSullivan predicted that the United States would be one of a Union of many Republics sharing those values. Six years later, in 1845, OSullivan wrote another essay titled Annexation in the Democratic Review, in this article he urged the U. S. Overcoming Whig opposition, Democrats annexed Texas in 1845, OSullivans first usage of the phrase manifest destiny attracted little attention. OSullivans second use of the phrase became extremely influential, on December 27,1845, in his newspaper the New York Morning News, OSullivan addressed the ongoing boundary dispute with Britain. That is, OSullivan believed that Providence had given the United States a mission to spread republican democracy, because Britain would not spread democracy, thought OSullivan, British claims to the territory should be overruled. OSullivan believed that manifest destiny was an ideal that superseded other considerations
It ensued after South Carolina declared that the federal Tariffs of 1828 and 1832 were unconstitutional and therefore null and void within the sovereign boundaries of the state. The US suffered an economic downturn throughout the 1820s, and South Carolina was particularly affected, many South Carolina politicians blamed the change in fortunes on the national tariff policy that developed after the War of 1812 to promote American manufacturing over its European competition. The controversial and highly protective Tariff of 1828 was enacted into law during the presidency of John Quincy Adams, the tariff was opposed in the South and parts of New England. By 1828, South Carolina state politics increasingly organized around the tariff issue and its opponents expected that the election of Jackson as President would result in the tariff being significantly reduced. In Washington, a split on the issue occurred between Jackson and Vice President John C. Calhoun, a native South Carolinian and the most effective proponent of the theory of state nullification.
On July 14,1832, before Calhoun had resigned the Vice Presidency in order to run for the Senate where he could effectively defend nullification, Jackson signed into law the Tariff of 1832. This compromise tariff received the support of most northerners and half of the southerners in Congress, military preparations to resist anticipated federal enforcement were initiated by the state. The South Carolina convention reconvened and repealed its Nullification Ordinance on March 15,1833, the crisis was over, and both sides could find reasons to claim victory. The tariff rates were reduced and stayed low to the satisfaction of the South, by the 1850s the issues of the expansion of slavery into the western territories and the threat of the Slave Power became the central issues in the nation. Later in the decade the Alien and Sedition Acts led to the states rights position being articulated in the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions. ”The key sentence, and the word nullification was used in supplementary Resolutions passed by Kentucky in 1799.
He was chairman of a committee of the Virginia Legislature which issued a book-length Report on the Resolutions of 1798 and this asserted that the state did not claim legal force. The declarations in such cases are expressions of opinion, unaccompanied by other effect than what they may produce upon opinion, the opinions of the judiciary, on the other hand, are carried into immediate effect by force. But, the four presidential terms spanning the period from 1800 to 1817 did little to advance the cause of states’ rights and much to weaken it. ”Over Jefferson’s opposition, the power of the federal judiciary, led by Federalist Chief Justice John Marshall, increased. Jefferson expanded federal powers with the acquisition of the Louisiana Territory, opposition to the War of 1812 was centered in New England. Delegates to a convention in Hartford, Connecticut met in December 1814 to consider a New England response to Madison’s war policy, the debate allowed many radicals to argue the cause of states’ rights and state sovereignty.
In the end, moderate voices dominated and the product was not secession or nullification. After the conclusion of the War of 1812 Sean Wilentz notes, This spirit of nationalism was linked to the tremendous growth and economic prosperity of this post war era
American Civil War
The American Civil War was an internal conflict fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865. The Union faced secessionists in eleven Southern states grouped together as the Confederate States of America, the Union won the war, which remains the bloodiest in U. S. history. Among the 34 U. S. states in February 1861, War broke out in April 1861 when Confederates attacked the U. S. fortress of Fort Sumter. The Confederacy grew to eleven states, it claimed two more states, the Indian Territory, and the southern portions of the western territories of Arizona. The Confederacy was never recognized by the United States government nor by any foreign country. The states that remained loyal, including border states where slavery was legal, were known as the Union or the North, the war ended with the surrender of all the Confederate armies and the dissolution of the Confederate government in the spring of 1865. The war had its origin in the issue of slavery. The Confederacy collapsed and 4 million slaves were freed, but before his inauguration, seven slave states with cotton-based economies formed the Confederacy.
The first six to declare secession had the highest proportions of slaves in their populations, the first seven with state legislatures to resolve for secession included split majorities for unionists Douglas and Bell in Georgia with 51% and Louisiana with 55%. Alabama had voted 46% for those unionists, Mississippi with 40%, Florida with 38%, Texas with 25%, of these, only Texas held a referendum on secession. Eight remaining slave states continued to reject calls for secession, outgoing Democratic President James Buchanan and the incoming Republicans rejected secession as illegal. Lincolns March 4,1861 inaugural address declared that his administration would not initiate a civil war, speaking directly to the Southern States, he reaffirmed, I have no purpose, directly or indirectly to interfere with the institution of slavery in the United States where it exists. I believe I have no right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so. After Confederate forces seized numerous federal forts within territory claimed by the Confederacy, efforts at compromise failed, the Confederates assumed that European countries were so dependent on King Cotton that they would intervene, but none did, and none recognized the new Confederate States of America.
Hostilities began on April 12,1861, when Confederate forces fired upon Fort Sumter, while in the Western Theater the Union made significant permanent gains, in the Eastern Theater, the battle was inconclusive in 1861–62. The autumn 1862 Confederate campaigns into Maryland and Kentucky failed, dissuading British intervention, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which made ending slavery a war goal. To the west, by summer 1862 the Union destroyed the Confederate river navy, much of their western armies, the 1863 Union siege of Vicksburg split the Confederacy in two at the Mississippi River. In 1863, Robert E. Lees Confederate incursion north ended at the Battle of Gettysburg, Western successes led to Ulysses S. Grants command of all Union armies in 1864
Battle of Fort Sumter
Following declarations of secession by seven Southern states, South Carolina demanded that the U. S. Army abandon its facilities in Charleston Harbor. On 26 December 1860, Major Robert Anderson of the U. S, an attempt by U. S. President James Buchanan to reinforce and resupply Anderson using the unarmed merchant ship Star of the West failed when it was fired upon by shore batteries on 9 January 1861. South Carolina authorities seized all Federal property in the Charleston area except for Fort Sumter, during the early months of 1861, the situation around Fort Sumter increasingly began to resemble a siege. In March, Brigadier General P. G. T. Beauregard, Beauregard energetically directed the strengthening of batteries around Charleston harbor aimed at Fort Sumter. Conditions in the fort, growing ever dire due to shortages of men, the resupply of Fort Sumter became the first crisis of the administration of the newly inaugurated U. S. President Abraham Lincoln following his victory in the election of November 6,1860.
Beginning at 4,30 a. m. on April 12, although the Union garrison returned fire, they were significantly outgunned and, after 34 hours, Major Anderson agreed to evacuate. There were no deaths on either side as a result of this engagement. Following the battle, there was support from both North and South for further military action. Lincolns immediate call for 75,000 volunteers to suppress the rebellion resulted in an additional four southern states declaring their secession, on February 7, the seven states adopted a provisional constitution for the Confederate States of America and established their temporary capital at Montgomery, Alabama. A February peace conference met in Washington, D. C. the remaining eight states declined pleas to join the Confederacy. The seceding states seized numerous Federal properties within their boundaries, including buildings, President James Buchanan protested but took no military action in response. Several forts had been constructed in Charlestons harbor, including Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie, Fort Moultrie on Sullivan Island was the oldest—it was the site of fortifications since 1776—and was the headquarters of the U. S.
Army garrison. When the garrison began clearing away the dunes, the papers objected, Major Robert Anderson of the 1st U. S. Artillery regiment had been appointed to command the Charleston garrison that fall because of rising tensions, Anderson had served an earlier tour of duty at Fort Moultrie and his father had been a defender of the fort during the American Revolutionary War. Throughout the fall, South Carolina authorities considered both secession and the expropriation of property in the harbor to be inevitable. S. In contrast to Moultrie, Fort Sumter dominated the entrance to Charleston Harbor and, South Carolina authorities considered Andersons move to be a breach of faith. Buchanan, a former U. S. Secretary of State and diplomat, had used carefully crafted ambiguous language to Pickens, from Major Andersons standpoint, he was merely moving his existing garrison troops from one of the locations under his command to another. He had received instructions from the War Department on December 11, written by Major General Don Carlos Buell, Assistant Adjutant General of the Army and you are to hold possession of the forts in this harbor, and if attacked you are to defend yourself to the last extremity
Uncle Tom's Cabin
Uncle Toms Cabin, or, Life Among the Lowly, is an anti-slavery novel by American author Harriet Beecher Stowe. Published in 1852, the novel helped lay the groundwork for the Civil War, the sentimental novel depicts the reality of slavery while asserting that Christian love can overcome something as destructive as enslavement of fellow human beings. Uncle Toms Cabin was the novel of the 19th century. It is credited with helping fuel the abolitionist cause in the 1850s, in the first year after it was published,300,000 copies of the book were sold in the United States, one million copies in Great Britain. In 1855, three years after it was published, it was called the most popular novel of our day, to affirm the role of literature as an agent of social change. The book and the plays it inspired helped popularize a number of stereotypes about black people and these include the affectionate, dark-skinned mammy, the pickaninny stereotype of black children, and the Uncle Tom, or dutiful, long-suffering servant faithful to his white master or mistress.
In recent years, the associations with Uncle Toms Cabin have, to an extent. Stowe, a Connecticut-born teacher at the Hartford Female Seminary and an active abolitionist, wrote the novel as a response to the passage, in 1850, of the second Fugitive Slave Act. Much of the book was composed in Brunswick, where her husband, Calvin Ellis Stowe, taught at his alma mater, Bowdoin College. Stowe was partly inspired to create Uncle Toms Cabin by the slave narrative The Life of Josiah Henson, Formerly a Slave, Now an Inhabitant of Canada, as Narrated by Himself. Henson, an enslaved black man, had lived and worked on a 3,700 acres tobacco plantation in North Bethesda, Maryland. Henson escaped slavery in 1830 by fleeing to the Province of Upper Canada, where he helped other fugitive slaves settle and become self-sufficient, Stowe acknowledged in 1853 that Hensons writings inspired Uncle Toms Cabin. When Stowes work became a best-seller, Henson republished his memoirs as The Memoirs of Uncle Tom and traveled on lecture tours extensively in the United States and Europe.
Stowes novel lent its name to Hensons home—Uncle Toms Cabin Historic Site, near Dresden and it is now a part of the National Park Service National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom program, and plans are underway to build a museum and interpretive center on the site. American Slavery As It Is, Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses, a volume co-authored by Theodore Dwight Weld and the Grimké sisters, is a source of some of the novels content. Stowe said she based the novel on a number of interviews with people who escaped slavery during the time when she was living in Cincinnati, across the Ohio River from Kentucky, a slave state. In Cincinnati the Underground Railroad had local abolitionist sympathizers and was active in efforts to help runaway slaves on their route from the South. Stowe mentioned a number of the inspirations and sources for her novel in A Key to Uncle Toms Cabin and this non-fiction book was intended to verify Stowes claims about slavery
Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions
The resolutions argued that the states had the right and the duty to declare unconstitutional acts of Congress that were not authorized by the Constitution. In doing so, they argued for states rights and strict constructionism of the Constitution, the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798 were written secretly by Vice President Thomas Jefferson and James Madison respectively. The principles stated in the resolutions became known as the Principles of 98, adherents argue that the states can judge the constitutionality of central government laws and decrees. The Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 argued that each state has the power to declare that federal laws are unconstitutional. The Kentucky Resolution of 1799 added that when the states determine that a law is unconstitutional, the Virginia Resolutions of 1798 refer to interposition to express the idea that the states have a right to interpose to prevent harm caused by unconstitutional laws. The Virginia Resolutions contemplate joint action by the states, the Resolutions had been controversial since their passage, eliciting disapproval from ten state legislatures.
Ron Chernow assessed the damage of the resolutions as deep. George Washington was so appalled by them that he told Patrick Henry that if systematically and pertinaciously pursued and their influence reverberated right up to the Civil War and beyond. The resolutions opposed the federal Alien and Sedition Acts, which extended the powers of the federal government and they argued that the Constitution was a compact or agreement among the states. Therefore, the government had no right to exercise powers not specifically delegated to it. If the federal government assumed such powers, its acts could be declared unconstitutional by the states, so, states could decide the constitutionality of laws passed by Congress. The Virginia Resolution of 1798 relied on the compact theory, there were two sets of Kentucky Resolutions. The Kentucky state legislature passed the first resolution on November 16,1798, the author of the 1799 Resolutions is not known with certainty. James Madison wrote the Virginia Resolution, the Virginia state legislature passed it on December 24,1798.
The Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 stated that acts of the government beyond the scope of its constitutional powers are unauthoritative, void. While Jeffersons draft of the 1798 Resolutions had claimed that state has a right of nullification of unconstitutional laws. Jefferson at one point drafted a threat for Kentucky to secede, the Kentucky Resolutions of 1799 were written to respond to the states who had rejected the 1798 Resolutions. The 1799 Resolutions did not assert that Kentucky would unilaterally refuse to enforce the Alien, the 1799 Resolutions declared that Kentucky will bow to the laws of the Union but would continue to oppose in a constitutional manner the Alien and Sedition Acts
Dred Scott v. Sandford
Dred Scott v. Sandford,60 U. S.393, known simply as the Dred Scott case, was a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court on US labor law and constitutional law. Dred Scott, an man of the negro African race who had been taken by his owners to free states and territories. In a 7–2 decision written by Chief Justice Roger B, the court denied Scotts request. The decision was only the time that the Supreme Court had ruled an Act of Congress to be unconstitutional. Although Taney hoped that his ruling would finally settle the slavery question, many contemporary lawyers, and most modern legal scholars, consider the ruling regarding slavery in the territories to be dictum, not binding precedent. The decision proved to be an indirect catalyst for the American Civil War and it was functionally superseded by the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, adopted in 1868, which gave African Americans full citizenship. The Supreme Courts decision in Dred Scott v.
Sandford is unanimously denounced by scholars, bernard Schwartz says it stands first in any list of the worst Supreme Court decisions—Chief Justice C. E. Hughes called it the Courts greatest self-inflicted wound. Junius P. Rodriguez says it is condemned as the U. S. Supreme Courts worst decision. Historian David Thomas Konig says it was unquestionably, our courts worst decision ever, Dred Scott was born a slave in Virginia in 1795. Little is known of his early years and his owner, Peter Blow, moved to Alabama in 1818, taking his six slaves along to work a farm near Huntsville. In 1830, Blow gave up farming and settled in St. Louis, after purchasing Scott, Emerson took him to Fort Armstrong, which was located in Illinois. A free state, Illinois had been free as a territory under the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, in 1836, Emerson moved with Scott from Illinois to Fort Snelling, which was located in the Wisconsin territory in what would become the state of Minnesota. Slavery in the Wisconsin Territory was prohibited by the United States Congress under the Missouri Compromise, during his stay at Fort Snelling, Scott married Harriet Robinson in a civil ceremony by Harriets owner, Major Lawrence Taliaferro, a justice of the peace who was an Indian agent.
The ceremony would have been unnecessary if Dred Scott were a slave, in 1837, the Army ordered Emerson to Jefferson Barracks Military Post, south of St. Louis, Missouri. Emerson left Scott and his wife at Fort Snelling, where he leased their services out for profit, before the end of the year, the Army reassigned Emerson to Fort Jesup in Louisiana, where Emerson married Eliza Irene Sanford in February,1838. Emerson sent for Scott and Harriet, who proceeded to Louisiana to serve their master, while en route to Louisiana, Scotts daughter Eliza was born on a steamboat underway along the Mississippi River between Illinois and what would become Iowa. Because Eliza was born in free territory, she was born as a free person under both federal and state laws. Upon entering Louisiana, the Scotts could have sued for their freedom and this had been the holding in Louisiana state courts for more than 20 years
New York City
The City of New York, often called New York City or simply New York, is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2015 population of 8,550,405 distributed over an area of about 302.6 square miles. Located at the tip of the state of New York. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy and has described as the cultural and financial capital of the world. Situated on one of the worlds largest natural harbors, New York City consists of five boroughs, the five boroughs – Brooklyn, Manhattan, The Bronx, and Staten Island – were consolidated into a single city in 1898. In 2013, the MSA produced a gross metropolitan product of nearly US$1.39 trillion, in 2012, the CSA generated a GMP of over US$1.55 trillion. NYCs MSA and CSA GDP are higher than all but 11 and 12 countries, New York City traces its origin to its 1624 founding in Lower Manhattan as a trading post by colonists of the Dutch Republic and was named New Amsterdam in 1626.
The city and its surroundings came under English control in 1664 and were renamed New York after King Charles II of England granted the lands to his brother, New York served as the capital of the United States from 1785 until 1790. It has been the countrys largest city since 1790, the Statue of Liberty greeted millions of immigrants as they came to the Americas by ship in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and is a symbol of the United States and its democracy. In the 21st century, New York has emerged as a node of creativity and entrepreneurship, social tolerance. Several sources have ranked New York the most photographed city in the world, the names of many of the citys bridges, tapered skyscrapers, and parks are known around the world. Manhattans real estate market is among the most expensive in the world, Manhattans Chinatown incorporates the highest concentration of Chinese people in the Western Hemisphere, with multiple signature Chinatowns developing across the city. Providing continuous 24/7 service, the New York City Subway is one of the most extensive metro systems worldwide, with 472 stations in operation.
Over 120 colleges and universities are located in New York City, including Columbia University, New York University, and Rockefeller University, during the Wisconsinan glaciation, the New York City region was situated at the edge of a large ice sheet over 1,000 feet in depth. The ice sheet scraped away large amounts of soil, leaving the bedrock that serves as the foundation for much of New York City today. Later on, movement of the ice sheet would contribute to the separation of what are now Long Island and Staten Island. The first documented visit by a European was in 1524 by Giovanni da Verrazzano, a Florentine explorer in the service of the French crown and he claimed the area for France and named it Nouvelle Angoulême. Heavy ice kept him from further exploration, and he returned to Spain in August and he proceeded to sail up what the Dutch would name the North River, named first by Hudson as the Mauritius after Maurice, Prince of Orange
Slavery in the United States
Slavery had been practiced in British North America from early colonial days, and was legal in all Thirteen Colonies at the time of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. By the time of the American Revolution, the status of slave had been institutionalized as a racial caste associated with African ancestry, when the United States Constitution was ratified, a relatively small number of free people of color were among the voting citizens. During and immediately following the Revolutionary War, abolitionist laws were passed in most Northern states, most of these states had a higher proportion of free labor than in the South and economies based on different industries. They abolished slavery by the end of the 18th century, some with gradual systems that kept adults as slaves for two decades. But the rapid expansion of the industry in the Deep South after the invention of the cotton gin greatly increased demand for slave labor. Congress during the Jefferson administration prohibited the importation of slaves, effective in 1808, domestic slave trading, continued at a rapid pace, driven by labor demands from the development of cotton plantations in the Deep South.
More than one million slaves were sold from the Upper South, which had a surplus of labor, New communities of African-American culture were developed in the Deep South, and the total slave population in the South eventually reached 4 million before liberation. As the West was developed for settlement, the Southern state governments wanted to keep a balance between the number of slave and free states to maintain a balance of power in Congress. The new territories acquired from Britain and Mexico were the subject of major political compromises, by 1850, the newly rich cotton-growing South was threatening to secede from the Union, and tensions continued to rise. When Abraham Lincoln won the 1860 election on a platform of halting the expansion of slavery, the first six states to secede held the greatest number of slaves in the South. Shortly after, the Civil War began when Confederate forces attacked the US Armys Fort Sumter, four additional slave states seceded. In the early years of the Chesapeake Bay settlements, colonial officials found it difficult to attract and retain laborers under the frontier conditions.
Most laborers came from Britain as indentured servants, having signed contracts of indenture to pay with work for their passage, their upkeep and training and these indentured servants were young people who intended to become permanent residents. In some cases, convicted criminals were transported to the colonies as indentured servants, the indentured servants were not slaves, but were required to work for four to seven years in Virginia to pay the cost of their passage and maintenance. Historians estimate that more than half of all immigrants to the English colonies of North America during the 17th and 18th centuries came as indentured servants. The number of indentured servants among immigrants was particularly high in the South, many Germans, Scots-Irish, and Irish came to the colonies in the 18th century, settling in the backcountry of Pennsylvania and further south. The planters in the South found that the problem with indentured servants was that many left after several years, just when they had become skilled.
In addition, an economy in England in the late 17th
Abolitionism in the United States
Abolitionism in the United States was the movement before and during the American Civil War to end slavery in the United States. In the Americas and western Europe, abolitionism was a movement to end the Atlantic slave trade, in the 17th century, English Quakers and Evangelicals condemned slavery as un-Christian. At that time, most slaves were Africans, but thousands of Native Americans were enslaved, in the 18th century, as many as six million Africans were transported to the Americas as slaves, at least a third of them on British ships to North America. Abolition was part of the message of the First Great Awakening of the 1730s and 1740s in the Thirteen Colonies, in the same period, rationalist thinkers of the Enlightenment criticized slavery for violating human rights. A member of the British Parliament, James Edward Oglethorpe, was among the first to articulate the Enlightenment case against slavery, founder of the Province of Georgia, Oglethorpe banned slavery on humanistic grounds. He argued against it in Parliament and eventually encouraged his friends Granville Sharp, soon after his death in 1785, Sharp and More joined with William Wilberforce and others in forming the Clapham Sect.
Although anti-slavery sentiments were widespread by the late 18th century and emerging nations, notably in the southern United States, continued to use and uphold traditions of slavery. Massachusetts ratified a constitution that declared all men equal, freedom suits challenging slavery based on this principle brought an end to slavery in the state, in other states, such as Virginia, similar declarations of rights were interpreted by the courts as not applicable to Africans. During the ensuing decades, the abolitionist movement grew in Northern states, britain banned the importation of African slaves in its colonies in 1807 and abolished slavery in the British Empire in 1833. The United States criminalized the international trade in 1808 and made slavery unconstitutional in 1865 as a result of the American Civil War. Historian James M. McPherson defines an abolitionist as one who before the Civil War had agitated for the immediate and total abolition of slavery in the United States. He does not include antislavery activists such as Abraham Lincoln, U. S.
President during the Civil War, or the Republican Party, the first Americans who made a public protest against slavery were the Mennonites of Germantown, Pennsylvania. Soon after, in April 1688, Quakers in the town wrote a two-page condemnation of the practice and sent it to the governing bodies of their Quaker church. The Quaker establishment never took action, the Quaker Quarterly Meeting of Chester, made its first protest in 1711. Within a few decades the entire slave trade was under attack, being opposed by leaders as William Burling, Benjamin Lay, Ralph Sandiford, William Southby. Slavery was banned in the Province of Georgia soon after its founding in 1733, the colonys founder, James Edward Oglethorpe, fended off repeated attempts by South Carolina merchants and land speculators to introduce slavery to the colony. In 1739, he wrote to the Georgia Trustees urging them to hold firm, If we allow slaves we act against the principles by which we associated together. Whereas, now we should occasion the misery of thousands in Africa, by setting men upon using arts to buy, the struggle between Georgia and South Carolina led to the first debates in Parliament over the issue of slavery, occurring between 1740 and 1742
John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry
John Browns raid on Harpers Ferry was an effort by armed abolitionist John Brown to initiate an armed slave revolt in 1859 by taking over a United States arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. Browns party of 22 was defeated by a company of U. S. Marines, Colonel Robert E. Lee was in overall command of the operation to retake the arsenal. Brown came with a group of men minimally trained for military action. His group included 18 men besides himself, Northern abolitionist groups sent 198 breech-loading.52 caliber Sharps carbines and 950 pikes, in preparation for the raid. The United States Armory was a complex of buildings that manufactured small arms for the U. S. Army, with an Arsenal that was thought to contain 100,000 muskets. Brown attempted to more black recruits. He tried recruiting Frederick Douglass as an officer to the slaves in a meeting held in a quarry at Chambersburg. It was at this meeting that ex-slave Emperor Shields Green consented to join with John Brown on his attack on the United States Armory, Douglass declined, indicating to Brown that he believed the raid was a suicide mission.
The plan was an attack on the government that would array the whole country against us. You will never get out alive, he warned, the Kennedy Farmhouse served as barracks, supply depot, mess hall, debate club, and home. It was very crowded and life there was tedious, Brown was worried about arousing neighbors suspicions. As a result, the raiders had to stay indoors during the daytime, without much to do but study, argue politics, discuss religion, Browns daughter-in-law Martha served as cook and housekeeper. His daughter Annie served as lookout, Brown wanted women at the farm, to prevent suspicions of a large all-male group. The raiders went outside at night to drill and get fresh air, thunderstorms were welcome since they concealed noise from Browns neighbors. Brown did not plan to have a raid and escape to the mountains. He believed that on the first night of action, 200-500 black slaves would join his line and he ridiculed the militia and regular army that might oppose him. He planned to send agents to nearby plantations, rallying the slaves and he planned to hold Harpers Ferry for a short time, expecting that as many volunteers and black, would join him as would form against him.
He would move rapidly southward, sending out armed bands along the way and they would free more slaves, obtain food and hostages, and destroy slaveholders morale