An overview of the debates over slavery in the 18th century

The Christianization of Slaves in the West Indies From the 17th century until the 19th century, almost twelve million Africans were broug ht to the New World against their will to perform back-breaking labor under terrible conditions.

An overview of the debates over slavery in the 18th century

Slavery in America began in the early 17th Century and continued to be practiced for the next years by the colonies and states. Slaves, mostly from Africa, worked in the production of tobacco crops and later, cotton.

An overview of the debates over slavery in the 18th century

With the invention of the cotton gin in along with the growing demand for the product in Europe, the use of slaves in the South became a foundation of their economy. In the late 18th century, the abolitionist movement began in the north and the country began to divide over the issue between North and South.

Inthe Missouri Compromise banned slavery in all new western territories, which Southern states saw as a threat to the institution of slavery itself. The decision antagonized many Northerners and breathed new life into the floundering Abolition Movement.

The election of Abraham Lincolna member of the anti-slavery Republican Party, to the presidency in convinced many Southerners that slavery would never be permitted to expand into new territories acquired by the US and might ultimately be abolished.

Eleven Southern states attempted to secede from the Union, precipitating the Civil War. During the war, Abraham Lincoln issued his famous Emancipation Proclamationfreeing slaves in all areas of the country that were at that time in rebellion.

This measure helped prevent European intervention on the side of the South and freed Union army and navy officers from returning escaped slaves to their owners, but not until after the Union had won the war and the subsequent passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution were the American slaves officially freed.

InMembers of the Commons had voted against abolition. Very few MPs dared to defend the trade on moral grounds, even in the early debates. Instead, they called attention to the many economic and political reasons to continue it.

Those who profited from the trade made up a large vested interest, and everyone knew that an end to the slave trade also jeopardized the entire plantation system. In a stuffy party at Oxford, Dr. Those on both sides of the Atlantic faced expulsion from the Society if they still owned slaves in In the British Quakers established the antislavery committee that played a huge role in abolition.

The committee began by distributing pamphlets on the trade to both Parliament and the public. May 12,was clearly out of season for abolition. Wilberforce had concluded with a solemn moral charge: We can no longer plead ignorance.

So far, the public had easily ignored what it could not see, and there had been no slaves in England since English people saw slave ships loading and unloading only goods, never people.

Few knew anything of the horrors of the middle passage from Africa. Over time, it became more and more difficult for anyone to plead ignorance of this matter. Thomas Clarkson and others toured the country and helped to establish local antislavery committees.

These committees in turn held frequent public meetings, campaigned for a boycott of West Indian sugar in favor of East and circulated petitions. When, inWilberforce again gave notice of a motion, petitions poured in.

Although few MPs favored immediate abolition, this public outcry was hard to ignore. While in theory a victory of conscience, the bill as it then stood came to nothing. The abolitionist cause endured disappointments and delays each year following until ; and each year, British ships continued to carry tens of thousands of Africans into slavery in the Western Hemisphere.

Wartime England lost her fervor for the cause.From the 17th century until the 19th century, almost twelve million Africans were broug ht to the New World against their will to perform back-breaking labor under terrible conditions.

The British slave trade was eventually abolished in (although illegal slave trading would continue for decades after that) after years of debate, in which supporters of the trade claimed that it was not inhumane, that they . From Slavery to Freedom: The African-American Pamphlet Collection, , offers primary source materials relating to a variety of historic events from the nineteenth century.

Speeches, essays, letters, and other correspondence provide different perspectives on slavery, African colonization, Reconstruction, and the education of African Americans.

Despite efforts at reconciliation, most notably the Compromise of , the Union was thrown into a civil war over the issue of slavery from to , and western expansion slowed due to the conflict.

By the midth century, America's westward expansion, along with a growing anti-slavery movement in the North, provoked a national debate over slavery that .

An overview of the debates over slavery in the 18th century

Westward Expansion () Overview; Westward Expansion () Despite efforts at reconciliation, most notably the Compromise of , the Union was thrown into a civil war over the issue of slavery from to , and western expansion slowed due to the conflict.

as well as the needs of the new classes created by. The Debate Over Slavery Michael O'Malley, Associate Professor of History and Art History, George Mason University Assignment.

Here is a selection of documents from both sides of the slavery debate.

Slavery in America - HISTORY