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slavery in america

Slavery in the United States was the legal institution of human chattel enslavement, primarily of Africans and African Americans, that existed in the United States of America in the 18th and 19th centuries. Slavery had been practiced in British America from early colonial days, and was legal in all Thirteen Colonies at the time of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. It lasted in about half the states until 1865, when it was prohibited nationally by the Thirteenth Amendment. As an economic system, slavery was largely replaced by sharecropping. By the time of the American Revolution (1775–1783), the status of slave had been institutionalized as a racial caste associated with African ancestry.[1] When the United States Constitution was ratified (1789), a relatively small number of free people of color were among the voting citizens (male property owners).[2] During and immediately following the Revolutionary War, abolitionist laws were passed in most Northern states and a movement developed to abolish slavery. Northern states depended on free labor and all had abolished slavery by 1805. The rapid expansion of the cotton industry in the Deep South after the invention of the cotton gin greatly increased demand for slave labor to pick cotton when it all ripened at once, and the Southern states continued as slave societies. Those states attempted to extend slavery into the new Western territories to keep their share of political power in the nation. Southern leaders also wanted to annex Cuba as a slave territory. The United States became polarized over the issue of slavery, split into slave and free states, in effect divided by the Mason–Dixon line which delineated (free) Pennsylvania from (slave) Maryland and Delaware. Congress during the Jefferson administration prohibited the importation of slaves, effective 1808, although smuggling (illegal importing) via Spanish Florida was not unusual.[3][4]:7 Domestic slave trading, however, 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, and taken to the Deep South in a forced migration, splitting up many families. 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.[5][6] 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 political balance of power in Congress. The new territories acquired from Britain, France, 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. Many white Southern Christians, including church ministers, attempted to justify their support for slavery[7] as modified by Christian paternalism. The largest denominations, the Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches, split over the slavery issue into regional organizations of the North and South. When Abraham Lincoln won the 1860 election on a platform of halting the expansion of slavery, seven states broke away to form the Confederacy. 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 Army’s Fort Sumter. Four additional slave states then seceded. Due to Union measures such as the Confiscation Acts and Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, the war effectively ended slavery, even before ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment in December 1865 formally ended the legal institution throughout the United States. Slavery in the United States – Wikipedia Slavery in the United States was the legal institution of human chattel…

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