DBQ

In a period of 55 years, from 1775 to 1830, many African American slaves in the United States gained their freedom, while in other parts of the US slaves were rapidly increasing, faster than ever seen before. The reason for the simultaneous increase and decrease of slaver lies in the African Americans’ involvement in early American wars, the decisions of certain slave owners, and the spirit of equality among slaves and freemen alike. The cause of an expansion of slavery is due to the rapid growth of our country, as well as the sense of duty among slaves. African American slaves played an important role in the American Revolution, fighting on both sides of the battlefield. This usually led to the freedom of slaves, as they were promised this in return for fighting. According to Lord Dunmore of Virginia, any slaves who fought for the King’s troops to suppress the rebels would be granted freedom. The prospect of freedom would certainly be an attractive option for any slave. Paul Cuffe, in his 1780 petition, stated that African Americans were not being given the liberties they deserved; however, fighting in defense of the United States was a cause that he believed would end the unfair treatment against slaves. African Americans were also granted freedom in a different manner. Some slaves, such as Venture Smith, were able to purchase their freedom. When Smith’s master agreed to free him for a sum of money, Smith worked diligently and was eventually able to buy his freedom. Finally, as slavery grew larger, an anti-slavery movement arose. This movement worked to inform the public about the realities and cruelties of slavery, in the hopes of turning the public feeling against slavery. For all of these reasons, the number of freed slaves in the United States grew increasingly from 1775 to 1830. In the same period of time, conversely, slavery expanded greatly, and this can be credited to several factors. In 1790, slavery was relatively widespread in the United

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