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Slavery in America

Slavery appeared not only as a moral issue, but also affected the nation on an economic, social and legal level. Arguably, the abolition of slavery was the discerning issue of the Civil War (1861-65), but also it adversely altered the relations of the peoples of the United States of America. Morally, the Southerners justified slavery in terms of biblical references and questioned the ability of the African's to operate independently. Other moral implications that arose included the treatment of the slaves, and the release of 'Uncle Tom's Cabin'. Socially, slavery lead to the institution of the Republican Party aiding in the secession of States, slave revolts against masters, and ultimately the hate in the South of the Northern states. It appeared that the American's in the North were far more liberal in their approach to slavery and realized that the sale of black Africans was both morally and socially wrong whereas the Southern Americans ignored the human cost of slavery and acted purely based socio-economic factors. It is hard therefore to fathom that these two 'pseudo' societies could coexist in harmony. Slavery violated basic human ethics on a social, moral and legal basis, and to an extent caused economic issues in the South. In essence slavery was the single most prevalent factor that negatively impacted upon civil relations between Americans in the 18th and 19th and ultimately was a factor that contributed to the Civil War. Although the South should bear the large amount of blame it must be kept in perspective that the North actually initiated the Slave trade in the Union, until they eventually realized the wrongfulness of their actions. Legally, slavery initiated Acts such as The Missouri Comprise of 1820, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 and the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. The practice of slavery in America also gave rise to a number of significant political, social and legal figures and events; namely Harriet Tubman and The Underground Railway, and The Dred Scott Case. Arguably, the most significant relational disparity between the North and South was propagated by the economic demands and pressures placed on the Americans in the Southern States by slavery, which lead to financial instability predominantly caused by the debts owed to the Northern traders for slaves. It was the culmination of these factors, which further cemented the majority anti-slavery stance of the North, and almost ironically created an unprecedented state of fear, uncertainty and instability in the South, which again compromised the relations of the North and South almost irreparably. Amongst the most significant social and political effects of slavery was the revolt of 1831, when fears of a slave rebellion eventuated. Slavery had now caused political as well as social unrest and again deteriorated the already dismal relations between Americans as the Civil War approached. As Abraham Lincoln ambivalently stated in 1858, "A house divided against itself cannot stand...I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free." (Coaldrake and Meaney, 1976, pg.45)As we know, eventually it was the end of slavery in America. ...



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