Slavery In The South Dbq Essay

1066 Words5 Pages

Hayden Carey

“Freedom is as essential to man as air”. For centuries, slavery has long been the subject of intense controversy and the primary victim of sectionalism that separated the North and the South in the United States. Following the American Revolution, the new union was divided between the south, which was economically reliant on slavery and the north, where slavery was not important. Abraham Lincoln summed up his prediction of possible consequences of the current state of the union as he said, "A house divided against itself cannot stand." In the south, slavery became a distinctive way of well being and a strong source of prosperity. Slavery in the north went under forceful attack and numerous northern states either banned slavery …show more content…

This competition, fueled opposition to slavery. The western US continuously grew as a result of major land acquisitions, consequently opposition to slavery grew a well. For example, The Mexican-American war granted all claims of land from Texas to California, significantly increasing the size of the US. Now the primary concern was whether to allow slavery in these newly acquired territories. David Wilmot, a white Congressman, was not against slavery, but rather he opposed expansion of slavery into western territories, standing for “the inviolability of free territory” (Doc H). Wilmot called for the opposition to the extension of slavery into newly acquired western territories. Wilmot’s proposition initiated the first break down of the national party system and created the foundation for the Free Soil Movement. In addition, Wilmot argued the economic reason for his opposition to slavery as he states, “I would preserve for free white labor a fair country...can live without the disgrace which association with negro slavery brings upon free labor.” (Doc. H) If he and his fellow Free Soilers succeeded in halting the spread of slavery, then this would decrease economic competition between white Americans and African Americans, thus drastically increasing the wages for unskilled white men and creating more opportunity for free …show more content…

In a 1783 case upholding the abolition of slavery, the Chief Justice of a Massachusetts Court instructed the jury that whites “hold Africans in perpetual servitude, and sell and treat them as we do our horses and cattle.” (Doc. B). The Massachusetts Supreme Court believed that the natural rights of life and liberty are protected for all, regardless of race. In addition, Angelina Grimke, a white southern women, encouraged the Christian Women of the South to appeal for the abolition of slavery to Congress. She argued that slavery tears family ties apart and degrades “American citizens”, forcing them to become soulless and subordinate to humans (Doc. F). Grimke shared a common belief of many abolitionists at this time: slavery is naturally immoral and a sin that cannot be justified. The publication of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin in 1851 had an enormous impact on perception of slavery. The bestseller introduced the injustices of slavery to many and influenced the growth of antislavery movements (Doc J). Stowe was able to effectively convince readers that the institution of slavery was naturally hateful and immoral. Another abolitionist, who was able to have an influential impact on perception through his eloquent writings was eminent antislavery leader, Frederick Douglass. In his famous

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