Abolition of Slavery in America

Slavery in America abolished

Months after Abraham Lincoln became the President of America a civil war broke out in the country. During such chaotic times Lincoln took a significant and historic decision to abolish slavery in all forms. On 19th June 1962 he has reminded the world of America’s true nature and purpose. The American Congress on this very glorious day legislated an act prohibiting all forms of slavery in the federal states. It was signed by Abraham Lincoln. Apart from banning slavery this act also nullified an ill-famed decision of Drett Scott taken in the year 1857 which said that African Americans were better off as slaves. This decision which tried to impose unlawful sanctions on the rights of the back people was written off and new step towards a meaningful democratic society was taken, as Wikipedia claims.

Here, we discuss

  • Where it all started?
  • America’s Civil War
  • Events that led to the civil war
  • After the civil war
  • The significance of June 19
  • American Constitution Amendment
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Atrocities on the Black Community Continued

Where it all started?

Post industrialization slavery was wide spread in America. An Anti-Slavery movement was started which was completely against slavery. It wanted the congress to abolish it and set the slaves free. It was proactively working for this purpose both during the civil war of America. It was called as Abolitionism.

  • It argued against slaver on Humanistic grounds. Most of the slaves were Africans and also some Native Americans were also enslaved.
  • During the 18th century nearly six million slaves were transported to from Africa to the industrialised colonies of Europe and America. The fight against slavery took momentum in the late 18th century and ear 19th century when all the northern states have passed acts against it after the other by emancipating gradually.
  • By 1790 all the northern states have abolished international slave trade. The congress has also started regulating the spread of slavery to other new states. In 1808 the United States Federal Government has banned international slave trade as reported by abolition.nypl.org.

Abolitionism as a movement has the support of many then religious leaders who stated that slavery was incompatible with Christianity. The movement was also a moral stand taken by its flag bearers and majority of Americans. This anti slavery movement was the very foundation the civil war of America.

America’s Civil War

America’s civil war broke out between the northern states that were with the union and the southern states that seceded from the union. The two sides fought against and for the enslavement of the African Americans of that time. It broke out in the year 1861 soon after Abraham Lincoln came into power as the President of the United States.

The northern states which had the support of the union, proclaimed the legality of abolition of slavery; whereas the southern states which were the slave holding states wanted to uphold the concept of slavery.  As reported in We’reHistory website some of these slave holding states have also taken official decisions to uphold and also have substantiated their stance with statements like “African American could not be citizens and had no standing to bring suit in federal court and were better off as saves”. They were treated as mere human properties.

Some of the events that led to the civil war were:

  1. Lincoln coming to power: Lincoln who was against slavery came to power in 1861. This made the southern states realize the threat that was coming up. They were sure that slavery would be abolished. During this time the momentum against secession of the southern states also picked up. All this accumulated and made the southern states fight with the northern states.
  2. The Dred Scott Decision: Dred Scott was a slave and sought American citizenship through its legal system. This eventually ended up in the court. Then came the infamous Dred Scott Decision which denied citizenship for him. This angered the Abolitionists and also made their movement more significant.
  3. State’s Rights: During this era there was continuous debate and contention about the supremacy of political power between the Federal and individual states. Many a time individual states have passed laws institutionalizing slavery. This did not go well with the abolitionists. This widened the gap between the northern and southern states.
  4. Abolition movement: In the early 19th century abolition movement was picking up pace. It started becoming significant and influential. They claimed obedience of Constitution.
  5. Literature: During those times accounts of slavery and subjugation was documented and published. Out of those the most important publication was Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. It was first published in serial format for a newspaper and was later published as a book. This book helped garner a lot of support of the Americans in favor of abolition of slavery.
  6. John Brown: In the state of Kansas proponents of either sides of the group have indulged in violent clashes. In these fights a person named John Brown has become famous for being the reason for the death of people who believed in slavery.
  7. Southern Secession: Some of the southern states have decided to secede from the Union. This created a commotion among the abolitionist. They feared the expansion of slavery to other new states in this process. Hence this made the northern states fight the southern slave holding states.

These were only some of the many reasons behind the outbreak of civil war in United States of America as discussed in the history website.

After the Civil War 

Though Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery in all forms with a powerful legislation most the slaves were not freed then. Many of the save holders have protected the information from reaching the slaves and have continued to hold them for another three years. The enforcement of the order has been very slow.

The significance of 19th June

  • On June 19th 1865 Union Genera Gordon Ganger read the federal orders in Texas. He formally announced that all the previously enslaved slaves in the states of America are free.
  • From then on June 19th was celebrated as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day and also Cel-Liberation Day. This day was also called as Juenteeth. It is a yearly American state holiday.

American Constitution Amendment

On January 31st 1865 13th amendment of American Constitution was formally ratified. It abolished all forms of slavery and involuntary servitude for good – 246 years after the ship load of captive Africans were transported as slaves.

This abolition of slavery not only banned involuntary servitude but also upheld the personal and civil rights of African American people and also some of native Indians as well. This also changed the existing equation of the earlier slave and slaveholder into an employer and hired labour. They were advised to remain where ever they are and work for wages.

Abraham Lincoln

  • This very decision taken by Abraham Lincoln made him the president who was admired for his shrewd statesmanship for leading the United States of America during the chaotic civil War.
  • Besides leading the nation he also made it extremely clear to the world what America as a country stands for in future.
  • He is still considered the greatest President United States of America ever had. He upheld the moral, constitutional and political principles of the constitution of American even during the times of crisis.
  • His Emancipation Proclamation is revered for being the most significant document and decision of modern world against the most atrocious manifestation of racial supremacy. This gave hope to many people of different countries which were grappling with various other forms of subjugation on account of their race, color and gender.

Atrocities on the Black Community Continued

  • Despite abolishing slavery and bring about the 13th amendment act in the constitution against it atrocities on the black community have continued.
  • They were not taken into the military of the United States of America which predominantly had white people.
  • They were brutally attacked and abused. However many social and cultural functionalities of the American society have evolved to a great extent.
  • Things look more promising and accepting for the black community in America.  However it continues to be a central issue in American political and social situation.
  • The fight struck by the abolitionstists and many of the unsung and unheard martyrs of the civil war still remains unfinished.

A century and a half after the civil war or the 13th amendment act of the constitution atrocities and criticism against the black communities continue in some parts of America. This calls for retelling and relearning of what America stands for and hopes for its citizens. Hence 19th of June still remains an important and significant day for every American of this generation.

Many of the states ask for declaring 19th June as a national holiday to re assure the black community of their social, political, and constitutional rights. Many organisations, Non profit organisations have been working in this line.

The Final Thought

Years after the groundbreaking amendment an African American was assaulted and eventually killed by a police official. This caused a national wide protest and many citizens from all walks of life have hit the streets of America to show solidarity and support to the Black community of America. Though it is heartening to see so many people especially from white community standing in support of the African Americans should really June 19th be celebrated? Does the fight remains unfinished?

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