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Pro-Slavery and Anti-Slavery

Essay by   •  December 13, 2018  •  Essay  •  544 Words (3 Pages)  •  213 Views

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Introduction

        Slavery in America began in 1619, when a Dutch ship arrived in the British colony of Jamestown, Virginia, with 20 African slaves. During the 17th century, European settlers in North America turned to African slaves as an inexpensive, more abundant labor source than indentured servants, who were typically poorer Europeans (U.S. History.org). Although it is impossible to know precise figures, some historians have estimated that 6 to 7 million black slaves were imported to the New World during the 18th century alone, taking from the African continent some of its fittest and ablest men and women (History.com).

Summary of Pro- Slavery View

        Much of the 18th century and 19th century saw the ongoing debate over slavery. The pro-slavery philosophy in the South peaked between the late 1830s through the early 1860s (History.com). By 1860, the slave states had about four million slaves encompassing a third of the South’s population. A lot of the American South believed that slavery was vital to the maintenance of its livelihood and existence and consequently defended the institution of slavery.  As the abolition movement moved forward, southerners became organized in their support of slavery in what became known as the pro-slavery movement (U.S. History.org).

Summary of Anti-Slavery View

Both black and white abolitionists in the first half of the nineteenth century waged a biracial assault against slavery. Their efforts demonstrated to be tremendously effective. Abolitionists focused attention on slavery and made it hard to ignore. They intensified the conflict that had threatened to destroy the unity of the nation even as early as the Constitutional Convention (History.com). Even though some Quakers were slaveholders, members of that religious group were among the initial to protest the African slave trade, the continuous bondage of its captives, and the practice of separating enslaved family members by sale to different masters (Library of Congress).

As the nineteenth century advanced, many abolitionists united to form many antislavery societies. These groups sent petitions with thousands of signatures to Congress, held abolition meetings and conferences, boycotted products made with slave labor, printed mountains of literature, and gave countless speeches for their cause (Library of Congress). Individual abolitionists occasionally supported violent means for bringing slavery to an end. Although black and white abolitionists frequently worked together, by the 1840s they varied in philosophy and method. While many white abolitionists focused only on slavery, black Americans tended to couple anti-slavery activities with demands for racial equality and justice (Library of Congress).

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