"To a Southern Slaveholder" is an anti-slavery essay written by the Unitarian minister Theodore Parker in 1848, as the abolition crisis was heating up in the United States.
The tone of the essay is akin to that of someone correcting someone else about a fact they got wrong. However, Parker says several times throughout that is not trying to antagonize slave owners and that he is their friend.
Parker points out flaws in the proslavery idea that slavery is allowed by the Bible.He argues that African Americans are not descendants of Noah's son Ham, who was cursed by his father to be a slave, as anti-abolitionists claimed. Parker goes further to say that even though the Old Testament does allow slavery, the creation of the New Testament ended such clauses.
Manumission, or enfranchisement, is the act of freeing slaves by their owners. Different approaches to manumission were developed, each specific to the time and place of a particular society. Jamaican historian Verene Shepherd states that the most widely used term is gratuitous manumission, "the conferment of freedom on the enslaved by enslavers before the end of the slave system".
Slavery in the United States was the legal institution of human chattel slavery, comprising the enslavement 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.
The American Anti-Slavery Society was an abolitionist society founded by William Lloyd Garrison and Arthur Tappan. Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave, had become a prominent abolitionist and was a key leader of this society, who often spoke at its meetings. William Wells Brown, also a freedman, also often spoke at meetings. By 1838, the society had 1,350 local chapters with around 250,000 members.
Angelina Emily Grimké Weld was an American abolitionist, political activist, women's rights advocate, and supporter of the women's suffrage movement. She and her sister Sarah Moore Grimké are the only white Southern women who became abolitionists. The sisters lived together as adults, while Angelina was the wife of abolitionist leader Theodore Dwight Weld.
Historians who debate the origins of the American Civil War focus on the reasons that seven Southern states declared their secession from the United States and united to form the Confederate States, and the reasons that the North refused to let them go. Proponents of the pseudo-historical Lost Cause ideology have denied that slavery was the principal cause of the secession. While historians in the 21st century agree on the centrality of the conflict over slavery—it was not just "a cause" of the war but "the cause"—they disagree sharply on the aspects of this conflict that were most important.
Theodore Parker was an American transcendentalist and reforming minister of the Unitarian church. A reformer and abolitionist, his words and popular quotations would later inspire speeches by Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr.
The Lecompton Constitution (1859) was the second of four proposed constitutions for the state of Kansas. It never went into effect.
In the United States, fugitive slaves or runaway slaves were terms used in the 18th and 19th century to describe enslaved people who fled slavery. The term also refers to the federal Fugitive Slave Acts of 1793 and 1850. Such people are also called freedom seekers to avoid implying that the enslaved person had committed a crime and that the slaveholder was the injured party.
Eugene Dominic Genovese was an American historian of the American South and American slavery. He was noted for bringing a Marxist perspective to the study of power, class and relations between planters and slaves in the South. His book Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made won the Bancroft Prize. He later abandoned the left and Marxism and embraced traditionalist conservatism.
The Slave Power or Slavocracy was the perceived political power in the U.S. federal government held by slave owners during the 1840s and 1850s, prior to the Civil War. Antislavery campaigners, led by Frederick Douglass, during this period bitterly complained about what they saw as disproportionate and corrupt influence wielded by wealthy Southerners. The argument was that this small group of rich slave owners had seized political control of their own states and were trying to take over the federal government in an illegitimate fashion in order to expand and protect slavery. The argument was later widely used by the Republican Party that formed in 1854–55 to oppose the expansion of slavery.
Proslavery is an ideology that perceives slavery as a positive good or an otherwise morally acceptable institution.
Slavery in Indiana occurred between the time of French rule during the late seventeenth century and 1826, with a few traces of slavery afterward. When the United States first forcibly removed the Native Americans from the region, slavery was accepted as a necessity to keep peace with the Indians and the French. When the Indiana Territory was established in 1800, William Henry Harrison, a former slaveholder, was appointed governor and slavery continued to be tolerated through a series of laws enacted by the appointed legislature.
When the Dutch and Swedes established colonies in the Delaware Valley of what is now Pennsylvania, in North America, they quickly imported African slaves for workers; the Dutch also transported them south from their colony of New Netherland. Slavery was documented in this area as early as 1639. William Penn and the colonists who settled Pennsylvania tolerated slavery, but the English Quakers and later German immigrants were among the first to speak out against it. Many colonial Methodists and Baptists also opposed it on religious grounds. During the Great Awakening of the late 18th century, their preachers urged slaveholders to free their slaves. High British tariffs in the 18th century discouraged the importation of additional slaves, and encouraged the use of white indentured servants and free labor.
The President's House in Philadelphia was the third U.S. Presidential Mansion. George Washington occupied it from November 27, 1790, to March 10, 1797; and John Adams occupied it from March 21, 1797, to May 30, 1800.
An Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery, passed by the Fifth Pennsylvania General Assembly on 1 March 1780, prescribed an end for slavery in Pennsylvania. It was the first act abolishing slavery in the course of human history to be adopted by a democracy. The Act prohibited further importation of slaves into the state, required Pennsylvania slaveholders to annually register their slaves, and established that all children born in Pennsylvania were free persons regardless of the condition or race of their parents. Those enslaved in Pennsylvania before the 1780 law came into effect remained enslaved for life. Pennsylvania's "gradual abolition"—rather than Massachusetts's 1783 "instant abolition"—became a model for freeing slaves in other Northern states.
The Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society (1833–1840) was an abolitionist, interracial organization in Boston, Massachusetts, in the mid-19th century. "During its brief history ... it orchestrated three national women's conventions, organized a multistate petition campaign, sued southerners who brought slaves into Boston, and sponsored elaborate, profitable fundraisers."
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.
The treatment of enslaved people in the United States varied by time and place, but was generally brutal, especially on plantations. Whipping and rape were routine, but usually not in front of white outsiders, or even the plantation owner's family. An enslaved person could not be a witness against a white; enslaved people were sometimes required to whip other enslaved people, even family members. There were also businesses to which a slave owner could turn over the whipping. Families were often split up by the sale of one or more members, usually never to see or hear of each other again. There were some relatively enlightened slave owners—Nat Turner said his master was kind—but not on large plantations. Only a small minority of enslaved people received anything resembling decent treatment; one contemporary estimate was 10%, not without noting that the ones well treated desired freedom just as much as those poorly treated. Good treatment could vanish upon the death of an owner. As put by William T. Allan, a slaveowner's abolitionist son who could not safely return to Alabama, "cruelty was the rule, and kindness the exception".
Abolitionism in the United States was a movement which sought to end gradually or immediately slavery in the United States. It was active from the late colonial era until the American Civil War, which brought the abolition of American slavery through the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The anti-slavery movement originated during the Age of Enlightenment, focused on ending the trans-Atlantic slave trade. In Colonial America, a few German Quakers issued the 1688 Germantown Quaker Petition Against Slavery, which marks the beginning of the American abolitionist movement. Before the Revolutionary War, evangelical colonists were the primary advocates for the opposition to slavery and the slave trade, doing so on humanitarian grounds. James Oglethorpe, the English owner of the colony of Georgia, originally tried to prohibit slavery upon its founding, a decision which was eventually reversed.
Slavery as a positive good was the prevailing view of white Southern U.S. politicians and intellectuals just before the American Civil War, as opposed to seeing it as a crime against humanity or even a necessary evil. They defended the legal enslavement of people for their labor as a benevolent, paternalistic institution with social and economic benefits, an important bulwark of civilization, and a divine institution similar or superior to the free labor in the North.