Citation: American Civil War and Slavery Essay

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On December 6, 1865 the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified, ending the institution of slavery. With this the single greatest change, brought by the Civil War the Thirteenth Amendment entered into the United States Constitution. Slavery was introduced in the late seventeenth century by English settlers for economic reasons. Slavery separated families, harmed many African Americans, and created political dispute in the early stages of development for the United States. Slavery was unfortunately a way of life for many African Americans but the hardships continued even after the Thirteenth Amendment which abolished slavery in 1865.
In the seventeenth and eighteenth century’s slaves were pivotal parts in stabilizing the American economy. Slaves made up one third of the southern population, and while most slaves lived on large farms, a small portion lived on small plantations. They were forced to mainly work on tobacco, rice, and indigo plantations. The life of a slave was very difficult and rough. Slave-owners were completely dependent on their slaves, so from sun up to sun down the slaves worked, usually with little to no breaks. The slaves were unable to learn or teach reading and writing skills and their behavior and movement was restricted. Many masters took sexual liberties with slave women, and rewarded obedient slave behavior with favors, while rebellious slaves were brutally punished. Slaves were able to marry and raise families and slave-owners often encouraged slaves to do so, but would not hesitate to divide families. Slaves lived completely separate from their slave-owners. Slave-owners lived in their house, while slaves lived in wooden brown shacks with dirt floors, little to no furniture, and no windows. Living with a harsh slave-owner on a large plantation was often the worse scenario. Likewise, on a small farm, slaves-owners could be taking a downfall and that meant the slaves would not be fed. If slaves tried escaping or talked back to their owner, the slave would be beaten and in some cases resulted in death. Any resentment meant punishment for the slaves so most slaves accepted their lives and never tried to protest their owners. The ones that did protest either made huge jumps for freedom or did not get very far.
In 1793 a federal Fugitive Slave Law was passed, providing for the return of slaves who had escaped and crossed state lines. This meant that slaves that escaped from the south heading north were still in danger of being returned to their slave-owner because it was now the law. The invention of the cotton gin in 1793 increased the demand for slaves. Plantations could now produce more cotton, in turn needing more workers to work with the cotton. After the Fugitive Slave Laws slaves became more and more outraged with the government. A greater percentage of slaves were running away so the Fugitive Slave Laws decreased the chance of a successful runaway. The north states saw no value to a slave because the north states were becoming industrial, while the south valued the slaves after the cotton gin was invented. During this time the north and south states became increasingly separate socially, politically, and economically. Abolitionist went to extreme lengths to end slavery and in some cases wrote violent words in newspapers like the Boston editor William Lloyd Garrison. The south defended slavery ensuring that slaves lived a healthy life but wasn’t taken seriously because of the book Uncle Tom’s Cabin written in 1852 by Harriet Beecher Stowe. In reality the life of a slave was cruel and sadistic. Southern slave-owners feared open rebellion but this was very common for the south. Slaves did fake illness, sabotage farming machinery, and even committed murder to defend them against slavery. Tensions between the north and south states increased and so did the push to abolish slavery. Thus the Civil War broke loose, and would change the future of