Ending Slavery In The US Essay Research

Ending Slavery In The U.S.- Essay, Research Paper

Ending Slavery in the U.S.-

Prior to and during the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860,

slavery was a major issue in the United States. From 1830-1850 (also

known as the Era of Reform) cotton became the center of America’s

economy. The more cotton that was grown, the more slave labor was

needed to pick it. This drew a lot of attention to slaves and their

human rights. Many anti-slavery societies were formed and slavery

soon became a major issue. By 1860, slavery became the center of

attention in the US. You either lived in a slave state or a free

state, owned slaves or were protesting against it. The election of

Abraham Lincoln in 1860 was the climax of the issue of slavery. Since

he had proposed to forbid the extension of slavery in new

territories, seven of the slave states seceded from the Union and

established there own Confederacy. They were prepared to fight for

their rights to own slaves. This caused a Civil War. So this leaves

one question- should the ending of slavery been a goal of the Lincoln


The Grolier Encyclopedia defines slavery as “a societal

institution based on the ownership, dominance and exploitation of one

human by being another human’s property.” There is proof that slaves

existed as far back as 4th millennium bc. The first slaves to exist

in the US where in 1680 in Jamestown, VA. In 1860 there where 14

slave states in the US and 15 free states. Slaves in the 1860’s were

used for doing laborious work on plantations, often picking/growing

crops, they were also used as domestic servants. They often received

a shelter ,of some sort, to live in, clothes, food and plenty of

resting time. They were more often then not treated with the highest

respect from their owners as they were valuable property and only

were beaten or whipped as a punishment. Because of the South’s method

of “cash-crop farming”, slaves were needed to maintain large

plantations growing crops. In a sense, the South needed slaves to

help grow crops to trade with the North. Farming was the only thing

the South could do to make money.

Instead of ending slavery altogether, he could have passed

laws pertaining to the owning and treatment of slaves. Since most

people opposing slavery argued that it was immoral and

unconstitutional, he could have passed laws limiting the amount of

work a slave could do, setting a minimum amount of food that a slave

could receive and a minimum wage. Lincoln could have also made it

illegal to punish a slave by physical abuse.

Another point to look at is if all the slaves were freed,

where would they go? Most slave families were large, with 3-8

children. Most slaves never owned personal possessions, had hardly any

money, and there only home was the place where the worked. Freeing the

slaves would have left millions of people homeless with children to

take care of. Most would have died of disease, hunger, being cold, or

would have been arrested for stealing food to feed themselves.

Lincoln should have passed laws guaranteeing the children of slaves

to be free. This would have allowed the slaves to prevent their

children from being homeless and poor. The slaves could have saved

money that they earned being a slave for their children or the

government could have issued checks to help the children of slaves be

free with a home and able to get a descent job.

In conclusion, the South saw the ending of slavery as an

economic disaster and in fact the freeing of slaves would leave the

slaves with nothing but their freedom. Freedom to go without food

and shelter. Lincoln should have compromised by passing laws to

insure decent treatment of slaves currently owned in the South and

insuring that the next generation of African-Americans should be born



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