Slavery And The American Revolution Essay

862 Words 4 Pages
The end of American slavery is usually associated with the American Civil War, but closer examination shows that the actual roots of slavery’s ending begin with the American Revolution. The links between the revolution and the decline of slavery are shown by the history of conflict between American colonists and British colonial authorities, the changes in the American economy during the 18th and 19th centuries, and the transformation of American attitudes about equality during this time. The revolution changed American government from a system based on loyalty to the British government, which many colonists felt worked through coercion, to a constitutional republic based on the idea of self-government. Conflicts between British authorities …show more content…
The old colonial agricultural economy gave way to an industrial one in many states. The colonial economy was based on external influence by British authorities, as shown by laws like the Tea Act of 1773 which enacted taxes on tea imported into the colonies. Americans resented that their economy was controlled by the British Parliament, in which they lacked representation, and they became even more angry because of the 1774 Coercive Acts, which set the precedent for direct British authority over colonial governments. These conflicts led Americans to want to have control over their own national economy. When Washington D.C. was created and a new federal government organized, it encouraged economic growth and infrastructure development. Industrialization began, allowing the development of major cities and increased American economic power. While the revolution forged a society where Americans wanted control over their own economic freedom, this contrasted with the continuing of slavery. Congress’s 1787 Northwest Ordinance abolished slavery in the Northwest Territories, but the Federal Fugitive Slave Law of 1793 required the capture of escaped slaves in any state or territory, even where slavery was banned, in order to protect the property rights of slave owners. This enforced the inequality of slaves …show more content…
While the American colonies were class-based societies with aristocracies, the new independent America was based on ideals of equal rights and representation. Colonial society was an extension of British culture and law, but the 1776 Virginia Declaration of Rights challenged this, becoming the direct model for the Bill of Rights in 1789. The ideas of the revolution led more and more Americans to want a society based on the equality of rights, despite the Naturalization Act of 1790 which stated that only free whites with at least two years of residence could apply for citizenship. Congress banned the importing of new slaves from Africa in 1808, and this was followed by many reforms that made slavery less and less a part of the new American economy and society. The Missouri Compromise of 1820 banned slavery in the northern part of America’s western territories, with the exception of allowing it in Missouri. The Wilmot Proviso of 1846, which proposed banning slavery in the many territories acquired by the U.S. in the Mexican-America War, was rejected by the Senate. However, this and similar proposals spurred a national debate about slavery and helped energize the creation of a massive abolitionist movement that sought to end slavery in all of the United States, once and for all. When peaceful attempts

Related Documents