Slavery in the United States was common in North America for at least 100 years before the founding of the United States. Most of these slaves were from Africa, or of African descent, and were owned by white settlers. Slave labor was especially sought after in the Southern United States, because this area offered fertile land for growing crops. Although slavery was common after the formation of the United States, it was a hotly debated subject. Many states outlawed the practice and slaves attempted to escape to these locations. The issue came to a head when Abraham Lincoln, who opposed the spread of slavery, was elected President in 1860. Let’s take a look at the events that led to the outlawing of slavery.
When was slavery abolished in the United States?
Soon after Lincoln was inaugurated in 1861 the southern states felt that he would attempt to abolish slavery. They decided to seceded from the country, an act which caused the American Civil War. During the war Lincoln threatened to free all the slaves from any state that did not return to the Union. None agreed to this deal so in 1863 Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which was an order that made all slaves in the Confederate States of America free. The United States won the civil war in 1865 and the Emancipation Proclamation was enforced. Later that year the 13th amendment to the Constitution was passed to officially outlaw slavery in the United States. It officially took effect on December 6, 1865 when it was ratified by three fourths of the states. This is the date that all the remaining slaves in the country became free!
Did you know?
It is estimated that 12 million African slaves were shipped to the Americas and about 650,000 of these came to the area now known as the United States.