Slavery and its Consequences
“Freedom means you are unobstructed in living your life as you choose. Anything less is a form of slavery” (Wayne Dyer). Slavery was the main economy and way of life in the Southern United States in the late 1700’s to early 1800’s. Many slaves were being freed, but faced persecution just for being of “colored” skin. From 1775 to 1830, many slaves were being freed-through the purchase of their freedom or by owners who found ways to live without slave labor-but also slavery expanded because of inventions like the cotton gin; additionally, both free and enslaved African Americans faced oppression and some, such as Fredrick Douglass and Sojourner Truth, fought against slavery.
To begin, during the late 1700’s to the early 1800’s, many slaves were being freed. In 1775, Lord Dunmore, “declare[d] all indentured Servants, Negroes, or others… free that are able and willing to bear Arms… [with] His Majesty’s Troops” (Doc A). Paul Cuffe states that, “many of our color… have cheerfully entered the field of battle in the defense of the Common cause” (Doc B). Those who would fight for the same reasons as their white counterparts were free; after the American Revolution, in which many slaves fought, the European trade markets were closed. This hurt the Southern economy, which relied on Europe to buy their tobacco and indigo, and once the trade ended, there was no need to grow those crops. In 1790, slavery only existed along the eastern coast and in the Ohio River valley and was diminishing. Slaves could even buy their own freedom: Venture Smith tells, “By cultivating this land with the greatest diligence and economy, at times when my master did not require my labor, in two years I had laid up ten pounds [for my freedom]” (Doc F). Conversely, slavery spread with the invention of the cotton gin. Eli Whitney believed it would make cotton production easier, but instead made a demand for more slaves; in 1830, slavery had spread all over the...
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