Work, which provides people with all the required production, is needed in order to sustain the life and humans needs. To achieve efficiency in production, it is necessary the division of labour. So, the heavy and uninteresting (especially physical) work is naturally less attractive while organizing of such division. At a certain stage of society development, it is appeared the opportunity to deprive some people of the freedom, forcing them to the less attractive work, and to appropriate the results of their work. That was the beginning of slavery. People, deprived of their freedom and forced to work for the owner was called slaves. The existence of slavery in America is proved by many facts described in historical documents. Moreover, the existence of slavery was the cause of the Civil War.
Slaves was generally used as labor in the agricultural and other industries, as servants, or to meet other needs of the owner. Proprietary nature of a slave, first and foremost, was that all of the products of slave labor became the property of the owner. Slaves did not have the own property, they could only dispose those things that master wished to give them. Slaves could not enter into a valid marriage without the permission of the master. The duration of marital relationship, if it was allowed, depended on the arbitrariness of slaveholders who owned also children of the slave. As any component of the property, slaves also were the subject of various trade deals.
As well, there are many historical facts such as runaway slave advertisements placed in newspapers, which proves that slaves were the master’s property. One of such advertisements was published on January 3, 1801 by Norfolk Herald (Willett and O’Connor). The advertisement states that „Run away last Monday evening, from the subscriber, a Negro Woman named ROSE, formerly belonging to the estate of Mrs. Currell… All persons are forewarned harbouring her under the penalty of the law. Any person that will take and deliver her to me shall be handsomely rewarded for their trouble” (Norfolk Herald).
The living conditions of the slaves were determined only by humanity or benefit of slaveholders. The first one had been a rarity, the second one forced to act differently depending on how hard to get new slaves. The process of growing slave since childhood was slow, expensive, requiring a fairly large contingent of slaves, „producer“. Therefore, even absolutely antihuman slaveholder had to provide slaves the living standards, sufficient to support the work-ability and general health, but in places where to obtain healthy adults slaves was easily, their life was not cherished.
The slave was not the subject of law as a person, as a man. The slaves did not enjoy any legal protection as an independent person neither with regard to his master nor with respect to the third party. The slaveholder could treat the slaves as he wanted. The murder of a slave by the master was the legitimate right of the last one („Slavery In The Civil War Era”).
One of those who fight for the destruction of black slavery was abolitionists. Abolitionist movement has its origins in the United States in the XVIII century. External manifestations of abolitionism were black slaves’ revolts in the south of the U.S. (in 1800 there were emerged under the leadership of the Negro Gabriel and in 1831 – under the leadership of Nat Turner).
The beginning of the organized abolitionist movement at the national level was the creation of the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1833. The activities of this organization, as well as the whole movement consisted in the struggle of farmers, craftsman and the part of the middle bourgeois for democratic rights and freedoms and, especially, for free access to western lands. Abolitionist movement was led by the representatives of radical-democratic intelligentsia who has raised a voice of protest against slavery. Most of the leaders of the movement, led by W. Harrison who was the editor of the magazine „Liberator”, believed that slavery must be fought with the help of ideological means, without resorting to force. However, more radical leaders of the movement focused on methods of armed struggle.
In 1838 abolitionist established special organization „Underground Railway Society” to help runaway Blacks. The creators of the secret societies were the farmers of North Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee. Through a network of underground transit „stations” and multiple conductors who risked their lives every minute, society transferred tens of thousands of slaves to the North. The former slave, Harriet Tubman, fled to the north, and then helped to escape hundreds of slaves. In addition, it has became widely known the novel of the writer Harriet Beecher Stowe „Uncle Tom’s Cabin” (1852), which contributed to the development of a social movement against slavery. The culmination of the struggle for the abolition of slavery was the revolt under the leadership of John Brown in 1859.
For the rebellion, John Brown set up a small array of 32 armed people, including himself and his three sons. Rebels captured large armories as well they prepared to scale up the fight but the government troops were able to suppress the resistance of a small squad. John Brown was sentenced by a military court to death and hanged.
In December 1865, the U.S. Congress approved the 13th Amendment to the Constitution prohibiting slavery throughout the United States. New offensive of the South troops to Washington, planned for the distraction of forces from the north of Richmond, was repulsed. By the spring of 1865, the North troops occupied much of the southern states. In the rear of the Confederation was successfully developed guerilla movement. In April 3, 1865 Richmond was taken by the North troops. The army of southerners, under the command of General Lee retreated and in April 9, losing the last battle, yielded themselves prisoners. This was followed by handing the armed forces of the Confederation of the South.
A few days after the end of the war, April 14, 1865, Lincoln was killed. This was the first ever attempt at an American president. The killer was fanatically aiming or possibly mentally ill southerner, actor John Wilkes Boots, who, along with other conspirators wanted to kill leading politicians of Union. Lincoln went down in history of the United States as a man and politician who made much for democracy and the formation of the American nation (Vorenberg 95).
It should be added that the victory of the North in the Civil War contributed to the strengthening of constitutional order in the United States, democracy and respect for the laws, the development of the American nation. Entrepreneurs of the North won a solid position in the highest organs of the federal government. The outcome of the war opened up opportunities for the development of market relations in industry, agriculture, contributed to the expansion of trade with all countries in the world. One of the main social achievements of the Civil War was the abolition of slavery.
In the United States, slavery existed until the XIX century. The institution of slavery was lifted only by the results of the victory of the North over the South in the civil war. Slaves were Negros brought in as an alive good, mostly from the West Africa. Moreover, they were slaves not in a figurative sense but in legal sense. They were private property of their white masters. Racial features of slavery were obvious. In general, blacks were considered second-class people, lower race, and their social status as the object of possession arose entirely from the color, the structure of the skull, and other anthropological features.
Norfolk Herald (Willett and O’Connor), Norfolk, January 3, 1801. 7 May 2009 http://www2.vcdh.virginia.edu/gos/search/relatedAd.php?adFile=vg1801.xml&adId=v1801010025
“Slavery In The Civil War Era”. 24 December 2008. 7 May 2009
Vorenberg, Michael. Final Freedom: The Civil War, the Abolition of Slavery, and the Thirteenth Amendment. Cambridge University Press, 2004.
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