Jillian Hewitt: The Rise and Fall of African American Enslavement Laws in U.S. History

  • From Indentured Servants to Life Long Slaves I

    From Indentured Servants to Life Long Slaves I
    Africans first arrive in Virginia. A Dutch ship, took the wrong turn and ended up selling its 20 Africans (unclear whether they were slaves or indentured servants) to the Virginians. Chesapeake was in dire need for labor at the time with thanks, especially, to John Rolfe’s new strain of tobacco (Of The People 58-59) But, because of a high mortality rate, it was more profitable for a planter in Chesapeake to have an indentured servant (risking them not living out their term), than to pay to
  • From Indentured Servants to Life Long Slaves II

    From Indentured Servants to Life Long Slaves II
    invest in a life long slave. (Of The People 69) Large quantities of African slaves began to be imported in the late 1600’s, when life expectancy started raising. The English colonies were a century late to the game, though, compared to the Spanish and Portuguese. There was already a “global economy reliant on slave labor”. (Of The People 69)
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    Virginia Turns From a Society With Slaves, Into a Slave Society II

    their masters must be transported out of the state” and 19 more defining slavery and limiting the rights of African slaves. (Of The People 100)
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    Virginia Turns From a Society With Slaves, Into a Slave Society I

    The population of people of African descent in Virginia rises from 7% in 1680, to 28% in 1700, with 50% of all workers being enslaved. (Of The People 99) There are a series of laws passed in Virginia (and two in Maryland) that “Codify Race and Slavery”. (Of The People 100) These include slavery being “defined as a life long condition”, “children follow under the condition of their mother”, that “no punishment is given if a punished slave dies”, and that “all slaves that have been freed by
  • Free Blacks Denied The Right To Vote (Virginia) I

    Free Blacks Denied The Right To Vote (Virginia) I
    Virginia passes a law (as part of their slave code) that denies free African Americans the right to vote. (Of The People 100) Although, this wasn't rare for the time to exclude a people the right to vote for race or gender, the right to vote was held mainly based on wealth or property ownership. (Of The People 309) This demonstrates the progression towards laws negatively affecting all African Americans, not just the enslaved. This further decreased the morale of all African Americans, as
  • Free Blacks Denied The Right To Vote (Virginia) II

    Free Blacks Denied The Right To Vote (Virginia) II
    well as ensured that a freed slave couldn’t have a vote to free slaves in the future. As one editor said, “Suffrage (the right to vote) is the first right of a free people.” (Of The People 309)
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    Revolutionary War I

    During the Revolutionary War (1775-1783), the British offered freedom for “rebel-owned” slaves who were willing to fight for them for the remainder of the war. (Of The People 194) Although the plan didn’t ultimately work for the British, this “disrupted the slave system significantly”. (Of The People 196) In South Carolina, for example, one-fourth of their slave population vanished. These missing slaves had either took the British up on their deal for freedom, died from disease, ran away,
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    Revolutionary War II

    or were stolen by whites. (Of The People 194)
  • The Declaration of Independence I

    The Declaration of Independence I
    The United States declares their independence from England, “…delegates vote unanimously to declare independence”. (Of The People 188) Declaration of Independence opened up the questions of human rights. Two key points of this document were human equality and the “belief in a universal, common human nature”. (Of The People 188) If these natural rights were god given to all men, slaves should also have these rights protected by the government. They were also born with these unalienable
  • The Declaration of Independence II

    The Declaration of Independence II
    rights of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” (U.S. Declaration of Independence, archives.gov)
  • View The Declaration of Independence

  • Northwest Ordinance of 1787 I

    Northwest Ordinance of 1787 I
    Slavery became prohibited for the first time in any specific region, in the Northwest Territory with the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. (memory.loc.gov) It also enabled territories that had 60,000 free inhabitants, the ability to apply for statehood. (Of The People 207) This included the future states of Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin. It prohibited slavery north of the Ohio River. (Memory.loc.gov) By this time, every state north of Delaware had already
  • Northwest Ordinance of 1787 II

    Northwest Ordinance of 1787 II
    done away with slavery, and Virginia, Maryland and Delaware (the upper South) were making efforts with laws to make the emancipation of slaves easier. (Of The People 204) The United States was making progress!
  • View The North-West Ordinance of 1787

  • The Three-Fifths Compromise I

    The Three-Fifths Compromise I
    The Three-Fifths Compromise was brought upon by the Connecticut Compromise which gave each state an equal number of senators but based the number of representatives on either population or wealth. (Of The People 210) This angered the Southern slave owners claiming a lack of representation to protect the institution of slavery, so the convention compromised. In addition to the whole free population, slaves would count as three-fifths of a person when determining representation in the House.
  • Three-Fifths Compromise II

    Three-Fifths Compromise II
    (Of The People 210) This is when they also decided that Congress would be unable to ban the slave trade until 1808, and added the fugitive slave clause to the Constitution, which forced states to return run-away slaves. (Of The People 210)
  • The Invention of The Cotton Gin I

    The Invention of The Cotton Gin I
    Eli Whitney, a slave owner, applied for a patent for the cotton gin. It was one of his slaves who had invented it but slaves couldn’t own patents. (Market/Industrial Revolution Bingo ppt) The cotton gin was a machine that took 1/50th of the cleaning time of cotton. In a note from Thomas Jefferson, written to Eli Whitney, he stated, “…I feel a considerable interest in the success of your invention, for family use.” (memory.loc.gov) Little did he realize, this machine would create a huge
  • The Invention of The Cotton Gin II

    The Invention of The Cotton Gin II
    transformation within the United States, with instantly creating a “cash crop” for the South. With the efficiency of the growing and processing of this crop, it meant the South was now going to be dependent on not only cotton, but subsequently, slave labor. (Of The People 262)
  • View A Note From Thomas Jefferson to Eli Whitney

  • Congress Bans Foreign Slave Trade I

    Congress Bans Foreign Slave Trade I
    Congress closes off all of the foreign importation of slaves to the United States as earliest as Constitutionally possible (as per the Three-Fifths Compromise that forbid Congress from banning slave trade for 20 years, in 1788). This seems like a good thing, only the downside of this is that in the 8 years leading up to this point, more than 40,000 Africans were purchased by slave traders or plantation owners in anticipation of this ban. (Of The People 281) Plus, it meant harder times for the
  • Congress Bans Foreign Slave Trade II

    Congress Bans Foreign Slave Trade II
    slaves that were already living in the United States.
  • The Missouri Compromise - Two Steps Back I

    The Missouri Compromise - Two Steps Back I
    Missouri petitioned to be a state in 1819 and the North knew they would be outnumbered with representation against the slave states. At the time, there was an equal amount of states on each side of the slavery issue (11 each). The states fought back and forth about what the stipulations would be of the new state. (Of The People 299) Meanwhile, Maine petitioned to be a state. They compromised by accepting Missouri as a slave state and Maine as a free state. The compromise also established a
  • The Missouri Compromise - Two Steps Back II

    The Missouri Compromise - Two Steps Back II
    dividing line between free and slave states. (National Archives Exhibit, digitalvaults.org)
  • Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 I

    Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 I
    In accordance with the Missouri Compromise, the House of Representatives tried to pass a bill banning slavery in Nebraska Territory, but the Southerners would not allow it and insisted on repealing of the Missouri Compromise. (Of The People 401) Stephen Douglas reintroduced it, this time dividing the Territory into two parts. The two parts became Kansas as a slave state and Nebraska as a free state, by way of “popular sovereignty” (each state getting to vote whether or not they wanted to be a
  • Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 II

    Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 II
    slave or free state). (National Archive Experience, digitalvaults.org)
  • View a Transcript of the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854

  • Lincoln is Elected, The South Secedes and The Civil War Begins I

    Lincoln is Elected, The South Secedes and The Civil War Begins I
    Abraham Lincoln is elected the 16th President of the United States. Because of his belief that property in slaves was not a Constitutional right, South Carolina withdrew from the Union. They withdrew even after he had warned that they would lose the all of the federal protection that slavery had. (Of The People 418) Even though some of the northerners questioned the federal government interfering with slavery where it already existed, and some could care less about the fate of slaves, they
  • Lincoln is Elected, The South Secedes and The Civil War Begins II

    Lincoln is Elected, The South Secedes and The Civil War Begins II
    they understood that slavery had to be destroyed, in order to restore the Union. (Of The People 418) Thus began the Civil War.
  • The Beginning of The End I

    The Beginning of The End I
    The federal government started emancipating slaves left and right. As slaves were flocking over to the Union lines in the thousands, Congress abolished slavery in Washington D.C. and then in the western territories. (Of The People 435) Then, they passed the Second Confiscation and Militia Act which freed the slaves of any rebels and would allow the former slaves to fight for the Union army. (ourdocuments.gov) People on both sides of the slavery movement thought that this might be
  • The Beginning of The End II

    The Beginning of The End II
    more power than what was within the limits of Congress. That power was within the war powers of President Abraham Lincoln, the commander in chief. On July 22, 1862 Lincoln decided to issue an Emancipation Proclamation. (Of The People 435)
  • View the General Order Issued Following the Second Confiscation and Militia Act

    The following is a link to the General Order issued by the War Department, creating the United States Colored Troops: http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?doc=35
  • Emancipation Proclamation I

    Emancipation Proclamation I
    Abraham Lincoln finally issues his Emancipation Proclamation. It stated, “All persons held as slaves within any state or designated part of a state the people whereof, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” (Emancipation Proclamation, archives.gov) This infuriated the Confederate states, encouraged the slaves, elated the abolitionists and free blacks, and angered some northern soldiers who weren’t looking to do any slave freeing. Everyone knew, though, that destroying slavery also
  • Emancipation Proclamation II

    Emancipation Proclamation II
    meant destroying the south. Although slaves had been running from the south all along, it wasn’t until Lincoln’s proclamation that they were technically free. (Of The People 436)
  • View The Emancipation Proclamation

  • View a Telegraph Sent to Lincoln When the 13th Amendment Was Passed

    The following is a link to a pic of a telegraph that John G. Nicolay sent to Lincoln when Congress passed the 13th Amendment: http://memory.loc.gov/mss/mal/mal1/403/4037900/001.jpg
  • The 13th Amendment is Ratified I

    The 13th Amendment is Ratified I
    Abraham Lincoln is re-elected President, the Civil War comes to an end and the 13th Amendment is ratified. Confederate Robert E. Lee surrendered to the Union’s Ulysses S. Grant and the war is over. (Of The People 447) Lincoln was re-elected and in order to abolish slavery for good, the 13th amendment was added to the Constitution. The time between when Lincoln had stated his emancipation proclamation and when the amendment was ratified, most of the slaves were freed. Three of the four border
  • The 13th Amendment is Ratified

    The 13th Amendment is Ratified
    states did away with slavery on their own, in order to re-enter the Union. The last holdout was Kentucky, which was the only state left when the amendment was ratified. (Of The People 448) “Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.” - Abraham Lincoln, March 17, 1865 (archives.gov)