1 Slavery, the Slave Trade, and the Civil War I Image Courtesy Library of Congress
2 There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States. Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotism of the old world, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival. Frederick Douglass, What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July? (1852)
3 Key Figures Thomas Jefferson ( ) Dred Scott ( ) Nat Turner ( ) John Brown ( )
4 Key Figures William Lloyd Garrison ( ) Abraham Lincoln ( ) Harriet Beecher Stowe ( ) Harriet Jacobs ( ) Frederick Douglass (1817?-1895)
5 Key Dates 1619 First slaves, about twenty, arrive in the New World 1700 Opposition to slavery in Samuel Sewall s The Selling of Joseph 1729 Quakers condemn slave trade 1739 Stono Rebellion largest slave rebellion of the colonial period saw nearly 100 rebels kill several whites in Stono, South Carolina. Slaveowners lived in constant fear of poisoning, murder, and insurrection.
6 Key Dates 1776 Jefferson introduces an anti-slave clause into the Declaration of Independence; the clause is rejected Massachusetts frees its slaves Slave trade abolished by Great Britain and the United States. By this time between 600,000 and 650,000 slaves had arrived in America against their will Missouri Compromise. To keep free and slave states equal in number, Missouri entered as a slave state and Maine as a free state.
7 Key Dates 1829 Mexico abolishes slavery, but rarely enforces the law in Texas William Lloyd Garrison publishes the first issue of The Liberator, an abolitionist journal. Nat Turner leads a slave rebellion. Turner, a literate slave preacher, had visions of angels who convinced him to punish slave owners. Turner and six followers killed his master (whom Turner described as kind and caring) and his family. Recruiting slaves as he moved on, Turner gained some 70 followers, who killed 57 white men, women, and children. The rebellion ended in two days with Turner s arrest. He was tried and executed, but slaveowners were left uneasy.
8 Key Dates 1850 Compromise of 1850, intended to settle the slavery issue once and for all. Among its terms: Slave-trading was prohibited in the District of Columbia. California became a free state and two territories were organized as New Mexico and Utah, where slavery would not be prohibited. A more severe Fugitive Slave Law to enable southerners to reclaim slaves replaced the one of 1793.
9 Key Dates 1852 Uncle Tom s Cabin published. Influential anti-slave novel, sells millions of copies and is adapted for the stage where it is seen by some 300,000 nineteenth-century audiences. When Lincoln met Stowe in 1862, he is said to have joked, So this is the little lady who made this big war.
10 Key Dates Bleeding Kansas Kansas became an early battleground over slavery. Missourians crossed the border to vote for pro-slavery candidates in Kansas, giving pro-slavery politicians an overwhelming majority in the Kansas legislature. Kansas legislature passed laws intimidating antislavery settlers. Antislavery supporters and politicians organized their own state government and declared Kansas a free state. Violence between the two factions broke out frequently.
11 Key Dates 1856 Violence in the Senate On the Senate floor, Representative Preston S. Brooks of South Carolina beats Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts unconscious a few days after Sumner s passionate condemnation of slavery. Both are celebrated in their states. Sumner was unable to return to the Senate until 1860, his chair left vacant as a symbol of Southern brutality.
12 Key Dates 1857 Dred Scott vs. Sanford The case was staged by abolitionists so the U.S. Supreme Court would decide the status of slavery in the territories. J. F. A. Sanford was Scott s owner and determined to free him anyway. The case backfired when Chief Judge Taney declared that Scott could not bring a case since he wasn t a citizen. Since slaves were property, the Court could not deprive people of their property in the territories.
13 Key Dates 1859 John Brown s Raid of Harpers Ferry Brown, an anti-slavery zealot, led a raid on a United States arsenal in Harpers Ferry, Virginia. He had hoped to use the arms to start a slave insurrection. After ten of his men were killed, Brown surrendered and was tried for treason, convicted, and hanged. (See Melville s The Portent. )
14 Key Dates 1860 Lincoln elected president. Lincoln with approximately 40% of the popular vote defeated three other candidates South Carolina secedes Civil War begins 1863 Emancipation Proclamation At the time of the proclamation, slaves numbered approximately 4 million. It freed slaves only inside the Confederacy, not in the border states, which had not seceded. As Union forces began to occupy southern states, slaves were freed. Almost 200,000 former slaves served the Union cause. This symbolic document signaled that slavery would no longer exist in a post-war United States.
15 Key Dates 1864 Lincoln reelected with 55% of the popular vote The House passed the Thirteenth Amendment, which freed all slaves without compensation to their owners. Lee surrenders to Grant at Appomattox. Lincoln assassinated. Reconstruction begins.
16 Key Facts about the Period: Justifications for Slavery [Slavery] was established by decree of Almighty God. it is sanctioned in the Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to Revelation. it has existed in all ages, has been found among the people of the highest civilization, and in nations of the highest proficiency in the arts. Jefferson Davis, President, Confederate States of America
17 Key Facts about the Period: Justifications for Slavery There is not a respectable system of civilization known to history whose foundations were not laid in the institutions of domestic slavery. Robert M.T. Hunter ( ), Senator, Virginia The right of holding slaves is clearly established in the Holy Scriptures, both by precept and example. Rev. Richard Furman, D.D., Baptist Pastor, South Carolina, 1838
18 Key Facts about the Period: Justifications for Slavery See excerpts from The Journal of John Woolman, in which he relates his encounter with slave supporters who allude to the curse of Ham in Genesis 9: See excerpts from The Civil War Diary of Sarah Morgan, in which Morgan discusses how she works and sings with slaves in an atmosphere of mutual respect and appreciation.
19 Key Facts about the Period: The Experience of Slavery I was soon put down under the slave decks. with the loathsomeness of the stench and crying together, I became so sick and low that I was not able to eat I now wished for the last friend, death, to relieve me; but soon, to my grief, two of the white men offered me eatables, and, on my refusing to eat, one of them held me fast by the hands, and laid me across, I think, the windlass, and tied my feet, while the other flogged me severely. Olaudah Equiano
20 Key Facts about the Period: The Experience of Slavery By far the larger part of the slaves know as little of their ages as horses know of theirs, and it is the wish of most masters within my knowledge to keep their slaves thus ignorant I had been at my new home but one week before Mr. Covey gave me a severe whipping, cutting my back, causing the blood to run, and raising ridges on my flesh as large as my little finger. Frederick Douglass
21 Key Facts about the Period: The Experience of Slavery Reader, I draw no imaginary pictures of southern homes. Yet when victims make their escape from this wild beast of Slavery, northerners consent to act the part of bloodhounds, and hunt the poor fugitive back into his den. Nay, more, they are not only willing but proud, to give their daughters in marriage to slaveholders. The poor girls have romantic notions of a sunny clime, and of the flowering vines that all the year round shade a happy home. To what disappointments are they destined! The young wife soon learns that the husband in whose hands she has placed her happiness pays no regard to his marriage vows. Children of every shade of complexion play with her own fair babies, and too well she knows that they are born unto him of his own household. Jealousy and hatred enter the flowery home, and it is ravaged of its loveliness. -- Harriet Jacobs
22 Key Facts about the Period: Escapes Follow the Drinking Gourd The song contains a coded route to Ohio, where slavery was outlawed. The drinking gourd is the Big Dipper. The song directs slaves to leave during the winter. The quail is a migratory bird that winters in the South. One of the problems for the Underground Railroad was how to cross the Ohio River. In the winter the river would freeze, making the crossing possible. As indicated in the second verse, slaves were to walk along the Tombigbee River and look for directions in the drawings in dead trees. In verse three, the escaping slave follows the path along the Tennessee River until it meets the Ohio River, where a guide ( the ole man ) waits on the other side.
23 Key Issues: Jefferson Controversy Throughout his life, Thomas Jefferson consistently opposed slavery. Yet he held slaves himself, a point raised during his lifetime to discredit his anti-slavery arguments. As world trends and opinions indicated, he realized that sooner or later slavery would be abolished, so he thought it best to remove it at the outset and avoid future conflicts. However, the anti-slavery clause he wrote for the Declaration of Independence was rejected by the delegates to the convention.
24 Key Issues: Jefferson Controversy (cont d.) In a letter to Edward Coles (Aug. 25, 1814), Thomas Jefferson, over age seventy, explains his frustration at his lack of success in abolishing slavery and his reasons for holding slaves: This enterprise [of abolishing slaves] is for the young; for those who can follow it up, and bear it through to its consummation. It shall have all my prayers, & these are the only weapons of an old man until more can be done for [slaves]. We should endeavor to feed and clothe them well, protect them from all ill usage, require such reasonable labor only as is performed voluntarily by freemen.
25 Key Issues: Lincoln and Slavery Abraham Lincoln was opposed to slavery personally, but he did not believe that, as president, he could impose his belief on the southern states. Lincoln first and foremost was concerned with preserving the union. He clearly explained his position on slavery in a letter to Horace Greeley: What I do about slavery and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on September 23, 1863.
26 Key Issues: Lincoln s Hopeful Vision that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not parish from the earth. Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863