Slavery Expository Essay

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Trevor Spence, Ms. Maldonado’s US History, III, Friday 13th, 2015

Prompt: My high school history teacher was quick to say: "the Civil War was not fought to free the slaves." Was he correct? How would you characterize the relationship of slavery to the Civil War? In your answer, be sure to use primary sources for evidence.

The War on Slavery

Despite economic and geographic factors at play, slavery was undoubtedly the central issue which began sectionalism and eventually justified the Civil War. English pilgrims first colonized in Jamestown, Virginia, where they began using slaves in the early seventeenth century. These slaves were imported from Africa and some were brought from Europe. The people imported from Europe were known as indentured
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Uncle Tom’s Cabin, published in 1852, illuminates the moral wrongdoing of slavery and the harsh stories of slavery from the slave’s perspective. This novel immediately sold thousands of copies, but it also put fear into the southerners. The southern whites began to write pro-slavery novels in response to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which was an anti-slavery novel. In Harriet Beecher’s novel, a slave named George Harris says, “We ought to be free to meet and mingle,—to rise by our individual worth, without any consideration of caste or color; and they who deny us this right are false to their own professed principles of human equality. We ought, in particular, to be allowed here.” (Stowe, 302) At this point in history, sectional conflict and tension between the north and south was at an all time high. Almost all of this tension between the north and south stemmed from issues regarding slavery. When President Lincoln, an abolitionist, was elected, the south immediately succeeded from the Union. The Civil War started with the Confederates attacking the Union early in Lincoln’s presidency at Fort Sumter. President Lincoln was fighting against the Confederates to bring the Union back together, along with his other goal of abolishing slavery. He did not advertise the goal of abolishing slavery because it would have created more tension, and less of a chance to bring the Union back

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