The Demise of Slavery | National Humanities Center

TeacherServe Essays

The Demise of Slavery

By Harris, J. William (NHC Fellow, 1992–93)

The institution of slavery was central to the economy and politics of the United States from the colonial era to the Civil War, and its demise was connected to almost every significant development of the country’s history. That demise came in two broad waves of reform—one gradual, largely peaceful, in areas with relatively few slaves; the other climaxing in a violent clash of sections resulting in the liberation of four million slaves. A confluence of changing ideological currents, resistance by both slaves and their free allies (black and white), and political developments that were, at first, not directly related to slavery, brought about its end.

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History / Education Studies / American History / African American History / Slavery / Emancipation / Political History / Abolitionism /