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Compensated emancipation was a method of ending slavery, under which the enslaved person's owner received compensation in exchange for manumitting them. This could be monetary, or it could be a period of labor, an indenture.Cash compensation rarely was equal to the slave's market value.
An indenture was seen as a compromise between slavery and outright emancipation, an intermediate step. However, a characteristic of compensated emancipation was that no one was very happy with it. Owners complained that their compensation was small compared with their loss; they were paid less, often much less, than what the slaveowner could have sold the enslaved person for (the market value). Governments and non-slaveowning citizens complained about the financial burden of compensating the owners, while for the formerly enslaved it seemed ludicrous that those who had all along benefited from slavery should now receive additional compensation, while its victims received no compensation whatsoever.
To be sure, the indentures system represented for the formerly enslaved an improvement over slavery itself; those indentured could not be forcibly relocated, children and other family members could not be taken away by force, and they could no longer be whipped or raped. However, they were still not free.
Compensated emancipation was typically enacted as part of an act that outlawed slavery outright or established a scheme whereby slavery would eventually be phased out. It frequently was accompanied or preceded by laws which approached gradual emancipation by granting freedom to those born to slaves after a given date. Among the European powers, slavery was primarily an issue with their overseas colonies. The British Empire enacted a policy of compensated emancipation (about 40%) for its colonies in 1833, followed by France in 1848, Denmark, in 1849, and the Netherlands in 1863. Most South American and Caribbean nations emancipated slavery through compensated schemes in the 1850s and 1860s, while Brazil passed a plan for gradual, compensated emancipation in 1871, and Cuba followed in 1880 after having enacted freedom at birth a decade earlier.
In the United States, the regulation of slavery was predominantly a state function. Northern states followed a course of gradual emancipation. During the Civil War, in November 1861, President Lincoln drafted an act to be introduced before the legislature of Delaware, one of the four non-free states that remained loyal (the others being Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri), for compensated emancipation.However this was narrowly defeated. Lincoln also was behind national legislation towards the same end, but the Southern states, which regarded themselves as having seceded from the Union, ignored the proposals.
Only in the District of Columbia, which fell under direct Federal auspices, was compensated emancipation enacted. On April 16, 1862, President Lincoln signed the District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act. This law prohibited slavery in the District, forcing its 900-odd slaveholders to free their slaves, with the federal government paying owners an average of about $300 (equivalent to $8,000in 2019) for each. In 1863, state legislation towards compensated emancipation in Maryland failed to pass, as did an attempt to include it in a newly written Missouri constitution.
Other nations and empires that implemented compensated emancipation:
The Emancipation Proclamation, or Proclamation 95, was a presidential proclamation and executive order issued by United States President Abraham Lincoln on September 22, 1862, during the Civil War. The Proclamation read:
Abolitionism, or the abolitionist movement, was the movement to end slavery. In Western Europe and the Americas, abolitionism was a historic movement that sought to end the Atlantic slave trade and liberate the enslaved people.
Slavery in the colonial history of the United States, from 1526 to 1776, developed from complex factors, and researchers have proposed several theories to explain the development of the institution of slavery and of the slave trade. Slavery strongly correlated with the European colonies' demand for labor, especially for the labor-intensive plantation economies of the sugar colonies in the Caribbean and South America, operated by Great Britain, France, Spain, Portugal and the Dutch Republic.
Slavery in the United States was the legal institution of human chattel slavery, primarily of Africans and African Americans, that existed in the United States of America from its founding in 1776 until the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865. Slavery was established throughout European colonization in the Americas. From early colonial days, it was practiced in Britain's colonies, including the Thirteen Colonies which formed the United States. Under the law, an enslaved person was treated as property and could be bought, sold, or given away. Slavery lasted in about half of U.S. states until 1865. As an economic system, slavery was largely replaced by sharecropping and convict leasing.
In the United States before 1865, a slave state was a state in which slavery and the slave trade were legal, while a free state was one in which they were not. Between 1812 and 1850, it was considered by the slave states to be politically imperative that the number of free states not exceed the number of slave states, so new states were admitted in slave–free pairs. There were, nonetheless, some slaves in most free states up to the 1840 census, and the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 specifically stated that a slave did not become free by entering a free state.
The slave codes were laws relating to slavery and enslaved people, specifically regarding the Atlantic slave trade and chattel slavery in the Americas.
The emancipation of the British West Indies refers to the abolition of slavery in Britain's colonies in the West Indies during the 1830s. The British government passed the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833, which emancipated all slaves in the British West Indies. After emancipation, a system of apprenticeship was established, where emancipated slaves were required by the various colonial assemblies to continue working for their former masters for a period of four to six years in exchange for provisions. The system of apprenticeship was abolished by the various colonial assemblies in 1838, after pressure from the British public, completing the process of emancipation.
Emancipation Day is observed in many former European colonies in the Caribbean and areas of the United States on various dates to commemorate the emancipation of slaves of African descent.
Abraham Lincoln's position on slavery in the United States is one of the most discussed aspects of his life. Lincoln often expressed moral opposition to slavery in public and private. "I am naturally anti-slavery. If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong," he stated in a now-famous quote. "I can not remember when I did not so think, and feel." However, the question of what to do about it and how to end it, given that it was so firmly embedded in the nation's constitutional framework and in the economy of much of the country, was complex and politically challenging. In addition, there was the unanswered question, which Lincoln had to deal with, of what would become of the four million slaves when they were set free, and how they would be provided for in a society that had long rejected them, or looked down on their very presence.
In the British colonies in North America and in the United States before the abolition of slavery in 1865, free Negro or free Black described the legal status of African Americans who were not enslaved. The term was applied both to formerly enslaved people (freedmen) and to those who had been born free.
The history of slavery spans many cultures, nationalities, and religions from ancient times to the present day. However, the social, economic, and legal positions of slaves have differed vastly in different systems of slavery in different times and places.
The Slave Compensation Act 1837 was an Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom, signed into law on 23 December 1837. It authorized the Commissioners for the Reduction of the National Debt to compensate slave owners in the British colonies of the Caribbean, Mauritius, and the Cape of Good Hope in the amount of approximately £20 million for freed slaves. Based on a government census of 1 August 1834, over 40,000 awards to slave owners were issued. Since some of the payments were converted into 3.5% government annuities, they lasted until 2015.
Freedom of wombs, also referred to as free birth or the law of wombs, was a 19th century judicial concept in several Latin American countries, that declared that all wombs bore free children. All children are born free, even if the mother is enslaved. This principle did not go into effect unless a country adopted it and included it in its constitution or other legislation. It overturned a tradition, under which babies born to enslaved women became the property of the women's owners. Intended as a step towards ending slavery, it was unevenly adopted.
Slavery in Great Britain existed prior to the Roman occupation and until the 12th century, when chattel slavery disappeared, at least for a time, following the Norman Conquest. Former indigenous slaves merged into the larger body of serfs in Britain and no longer were recognised separately in law or custom.
A freedman or freedwoman is a formerly enslaved person who has been released from slavery, usually by legal means. Historically, enslaved people were freed by manumission, emancipation, or self-purchase. A fugitive slave is a person who escaped slavery by fleeing.
Freedom suits were lawsuits in the Thirteen Colonies and the United States filed by enslaved people against slaveholders to assert claims to freedom, often based on descent from a free maternal ancestor, or time held as a resident in a free state or territory.
An Act for the Release of certain Persons [Black slaves] held to Service or Labor within the District of Columbia, 37th Cong., Sess. 2, ch. 54, 12 Stat. 376, known colloquially as the District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act or simply Compensated Emancipation Act, was a law that ended slavery in the District of Columbia, providing slave owners partial compensation for releasing their slaves. Although not written by him, the act was signed by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln on April 16, 1862. April 16 is now celebrated in the city as Emancipation Day.
Abolitionism in the United States was a movement which sought to end slavery in the United States, being active from the colonial era until the American Civil War, which saw the abolition of American slavery. The abolitionist movement originated in Western Europe during the Age of Enlightenment, seeking to end the transatlantic slave trade and outlaw the institution of slavery in European colonies in the Americas. In Colonial America, German settlers issued the 1688 Germantown Quaker Petition Against Slavery, which would initiate the American abolitionist movement. Before the Revolutionary War, evangelical colonists were the primary advocates for the abolition of slavery and the slave trade, doing so on humanitarian grounds. Georgia, the last of the Thirteen Colonies to be established, originally prohibited slavery upon its founding, a decision which was eventually reversed.
Abolitionism in the United Kingdom was the movement in the late 18th and early 19th centuries to end the practice of slavery, whether formal or informal, in the United Kingdom, the British Empire and the world, including ending the Atlantic slave trade. It was part of a wider abolitionism movement in Western Europe and the Americas.
Gradual emancipation was a practice used by some states to abolish slavery over a period of time, such as An Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery of 1780 in Pennsylvania.