Many Americans’ eyes were opened in 1776, when members of the Continental Congress drafted, signed, and published the famous document “The Declaration of Independence” in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. By declaring their independence, many of the colonists believed that slaves should have the same rights as the whites had. Abolition groups were formed, and the fight to end slavery begins.
In 1776, Delaware becomes the first state to prohibit the importation of African slaves. One year later, in 1777, Vermont becomes the first colony to abolish slavery (within Vermont’s boundaries) by state constitution. Ten years later, in 1787, slavery was prohibited in the Northwest Territory by the Northwest Ordinance. The Northwest Territory was the first organized territory of the United States. The states pertaining to the Northwest Territory: Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. The abolition of slavery in the Northwest Territory led to thought held by pro-slavery southerners that the North had the edge in the Senate and The House of representatives.
Therefore, in 1787, two delegates by the names of Roger Sherman and James Wilson introduced the Three Fifths compromise in the Philadelphia Convention. The Three Fifths compromise states that a slave be counted as three-fifths of a person. Therefore, the population of the southern states equaled the population of the northern states. Now that the populations were balanced, the south and the north sent the same amount of representatives to The House of Representatives. Pro-slavery southerners felt as if the north still had an advantage, but it was actually the south that had the advantage in the Senate and The House of Rep...
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...if they slave were sent back into slavery. The Fugitive Slave law of 1850 was enforced greatly.
Harriet Beecher Stowe publishes “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” in 1852. This anti-slavery book was the most popular book of the 19th century, and the 2nd most sold book in the century, following only the Bible. It was said that this novel “led to the civil war”, or “the straw that broke the camel’s back”. After one year, 300,000 copies were sold in the U.S., and over 1 million were sold in Britain.
The abolition movement continued to grow, choking the south until they couldn’t breathe. Radical abolitionists begin to lead slave revolts. Slave’s rebel and escape towards the north. The tension between the north and the south intensifies. The civil war erupts across the nation. The north wins, and President Lincoln issues The Emancipation Proclamation. The slaves are finally free.
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