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The Abolitionist Movement Of Slavery From The Early 19th Century To The American Civil War

1557 words - 7 pages

At the dawn of the 19th century, slavery in the United States faced an uncertain future. Many had predicted that Industrial America would eventually eradicate slavery, but the introduction of Eli Whitney’s cotton gin impeded those predictions. This increased the profitability of slavery as each decade passed until the time of the American Civil War. This offended most people of America, especially Northerners. People who are against slavery and are willing to take action and end the practice of slavery are known as abolitionists. These “anti-slaveryites” took huge risks and went through drastic punishments all to end the very nuisance that flawed America, slavery.
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As a result, the North and the South were kept at a balance by having twelve states each. Although Missouri was admitted as a Slave State, all lands that will join the Union above the line of 36°30’ was prohibited the practice of slavery, and the land below was granted the wish of practicing slavery. (Kennedy, Cohen, Bailey 245)
In these slave states, most commonly in the South, the treatment of slaves widely varied. Some slaves were treated well, and others were whipped half to death and sometimes even left to die. William Grimes, son of a white plantation owner and black, female slave, was born on a plantation in Virginia in 1784. As a slave he had experienced both kinds of treatment from his owner. Grimes first began his work in the main house, but because of the other slaves’ jealousy, a misunderstanding occurred and Grimes was whipped fifty times for something he did not do. After that, he was moved into the fields, where his job was to hoe the corn. Upon finishing this task, he was offered to work in the main house again, but he refused because he was afraid of getting into trouble again. Part of Grime’s slave life was being sold to owners who may or may not have been close to the original slave-owner, and this happened a couple times. Grimes also tried the risky stunt of escaping, but his first few attempts resulted in failure, and he was punished with whippings. Upon working for a new master in Savannah, Georgia in 1814, Grime’s last escape attempt was a successful attempt. He was given the job to load bales of cotton onto a ship that had come from Boston, and while doing his job he befriended the northern sailors. They had arranged his escape, and he was brought to freedom as he made it to the North. About a decade later, William Grimes had published an account of his life. (Worth 7-10)
Frederick Douglass was another former slave but well-known as an abolitionist, social-reformer and orator. He was born into slavery in Talbot, Maryland and the plantation he worked in was located between Hillsboro and Cordova. At an early age, Frederick was separated from his mother and lived on with his maternal grandmother, and because of this he was moved to the Wye House plantation. Aaron Anthony worked as the overseer, but when he died Frederick was handed over to Thomas Auld who lived in Baltimore, but later sent Frederick to work for his brother, Hugh Auld. At about the age of twelve, Frederick learned the alphabet which was prohibited, since the law in Maryland stated that no slave can be taught how to read. Hugh Auld who noticed this activity strongly disapproved of this, but never seemed to punish Douglass for it. In secret, Douglass would teach himself how to read and write, and would observe men doing it when working. Frederick Douglass once said “Knowledge is the pathway from slavery to freedom." In 1833, Frederick was taken by Thomas Auld, as a punishment for Hugh, and was sold to Edward Covey, a poor farmer and had the nickname...

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