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Black Slavery in America

Black slavery is a part of the history of the United States of America and apparently not the best one. Even though it was abolished, it still has its negative impact on people today. So, when and how was black slavery established? What are the main events connected with it?

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It is believed that black slavery in America began after twenty Africans were brought to the British colony of Jamestown, Virginia. Since then, it was spread throughout the other colonies. In 1660, the slavery institution appeared in Jamestown, which meant that the slavery was now officially recognized. Some scientists suggest that only in the 18th century around 7 million of black people were taken by force from Africa to America and turned into slaves. Since the slaves were seen as completely inferior, their owners had the right to do with them whatever they wanted to. The slaves were nothing more than just a property. The owners could freely kill them or punish in any brutal way, what they actually often did.

Firstly, the slaves worked mostly on the southern tobacco, rice and sugar cane plantations. At the end of 18th century, the tobacco business became unprofitable. Luckily, England was in a big demand for American cotton. Before 1793, due to the difficulties in the manufacture process, the production of the cotton here was very low. In 1793, a mechanism to greatly simplify cotton production, the cotton gin, was invented. Now that the cotton gin came into common use, the South switched from tobacco mass-production to cotton one. Thus, slave labor remained in need.

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Slavery in the North was not very developed, because the slaves were not as important for the economy as in the South. Slave trade though, was still popular in the area. After the American Revolution, many northern colonies became against slavery. In 1808, the Congress of the USA made slave trade illegal, but it did not change the situation. In fact, slave population was almost tripled over the next half a century. Starting from the 1930s, the abolition movement led by Frederick Douglass, other free black people and those whites who supported them became much stronger in the north of the country. In these years the so-called Underground Railroad, a system to help slaves from the South escape to the North, became extremely popular. At the same time, sectional tensions were becoming more and more widespread.

The Missouri Compromise of 1820 tried to make the number of the free and slave states equal, but it was not enough for the abolitionists. Another compromise of 1950 argued about the territories won in the Mexican War, but the Kansas-Nebraska Act declared it to be slavery territories. This increased abolition movement even more. The president Abraham Lincoln was one of those who contributed to the slavery abolition greatly. This movement became one of the aims of the Civil War. In 1863, the freedom of all the slaves was declared by the Emancipation Proclamation. Nevertheless, not all the slaves became free immediately, since the provisions of this proclamation were frequently ignored. Black codes were enacted to create limitations for newly-freed slaves. Sharecropping was also created to make it difficult for the former slaves to become economically independent. Only a century later, as a result of the civil rights movement, African Americans won a full political and social recognition, although even today we can here about racism and discrimination of the black people.

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In conclusion, black slavery in America began with the score of Africans brought to the English colony. Very rapidly it became so widely used all over the country, especially in the South, that it appeared too difficult to eradicate completely. That is why some of African Americans reap bitter fruits of those events even nowadays.

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