US slave trade

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First Trade

1619 - 1620

The first African slaves arrive in Virginia in 1619 from Africa. Approximately 20 captive Africans are sold into slavery from the English ship White Lion were sold in exchange for food and some were transported to Jamestown, where they were sold again, likely into slavery. Historians have long believed these Africans to have come to Virginia from the Caribbean, but Spanish records suggest they had been captured in the Portuguese colony of Angola, in West Central Africa.

Northwest Ordinance

1787 - 1788

Through the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 under the Congress of the Confederation, slavery was prohibited in the territories northwest of the Ohio River (Existing slaves in the Territory were not freed for years, although they could no longer be sold). That was a compromise, as Thomas Jefferson's original proposal in 1784 to end slavery in all the territories lost in Congress by one vote. This action separates the North and South part of the US.

Northwest Ordinance

1787 - 1788

Through the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 under the Congress of the Confederation, slavery was prohibited in the territories northwest of the Ohio River (Existing slaves in the Territory were not freed for years, although they could no longer be sold). That was a compromise, as Thomas Jefferson's original proposal in 1784 to end slavery in all the territories lost in Congress by one vote. This action separates the North and South part of the US.

Internal slave trade and forced migration

1793 - 1794

The growing demand for cotton led many plantation owners further west in search of suitable land. In addition, invention of the cotton gin in 1793 enabled more economic processing of short-staple cotton, which could readily be grown in the uplands. The invention revolutionized the cotton industry by increasing fifty-fold the quantity of cotton that could be processed in a day.

International Slave Trade Abolished

1808 - 1809

Soon after the Revolutionary War, northern states began to abolish slavery. Many states, including southern ones, passed laws prohibiting the importation of slaves to end the transatlantic slave trade. After Great Britain and the United States outlawed the international slave trade in 1808, the British West Africa Squadron's slave trade suppression activities were assisted by forces from the United States Navy, starting in 1820. With the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842, the relationship with Britain was formalized, and they jointly ran the Africa Squadron.

Missouri Compromise

1820 - 1821

Dred Scott and his wife Harriet Scott each sued for freedom in St. Louis after the death of their master on the grounds that they had lived in a territory where slavery was forbidden (the northern part of the Louisiana Purchase, from which slavery was excluded under the terms of the Missouri Compromise). After the case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, it denied Scott his freedom in a sweeping decision that set the United States on course for civil war. The court ruled that, under the Constitution, neither Dred Scott nor any descendant of Africans, slave or free, was a citizen who had a right to sue in the Federal courts, and that Congress had had no constitutional power to pass the Missouri Compromise.

Compromise of 1850

1850 - 1851

Because of the three-fifths compromise in the U.S. Constitution, in which slaves counted as three-fifths of a person in terms of population numbers for Congressional representation, the elite planter class had long held power in Congress out of proportion to the total number of white Southerners. In 1850 they passed a more stringent Federal fugitive slave law. Refugees from slavery continued to flee the South across the Ohio River and other parts of the Mason-Dixon Line dividing North from South, to the North via the Underground Railroad.

Kansas- Nebraska Act. Repealed Missouri

1854 - 1855

The Kansas–Nebraska Act of 1854 (10 Stat. 277) created the territories of Kansas and Nebraska, opening new lands for settlement, and had the effect of repealing the Missouri Compromise of 1820 by allowing white male settlers in those territories to determine through popular sovereignty whether they would allow slavery within each territory. The act was designed by Democratic Senator Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois.

Presidential Campaign/ Country is divided

1860 - 1861

The divisions became fully exposed with the 1860 presidential election. The electorate split four ways. The Southern Democrats endorsed slavery, while the Republicans denounced it. The Northern Democrats said democracy required the people to decide on slavery locally, state by state and territory by territory. The Constitutional Union Partysaid the survival of the Union was at stake and everything else should be compromised. Lincoln, the Republican, won with a plurality of popular votes and a majority of electoral votes. Lincoln, however, did not appear on the ballots of ten southern states: thus his election necessarily split the nation along sectional lines. Many slave owners in the South feared that the real intent of the Republicans was the abolition of slavery in states where it already existed, and that the sudden emancipation of four million slaves would be problematic for the slave owners and for the economy that drew its greatest profits from the labor of people who were not paid.

Civil War

1861 - 1862

The consequent American Civil War, beginning in 1861, led to the end of chattel slavery in America. Not long after the war broke out, through a legal maneuver credited to Union General Benjamin F. Butler, a lawyer by profession, slaves who came into Union "possession" were considered "contraband of war". General Butler ruled that they were not subject to return to Confederate owners as they had been before the war. Soon word spread, and many slaves sought refuge in Union territory, desiring to be declared "contraband." Many of the "contrabands" joined the Union Army as workers or troops, forming entire regiments of the U.S. Colored Troops. Others went to refugee camps such as the Grand Contraband Camp near Fort Monroe or fled to northern cities. General Butler's interpretation was reinforced when Congress passed the Confiscation Act of 1861, which declared that any property used by the Confederate military, including slaves, could be confiscated by Union forces.

Emancipation Proclamation

1861 - 1862

In 1861, Lincoln expressed the fear that premature attempts at emancipation would mean the loss of the Border States. He believed that "to lose Kentucky is nearly the same as to lose the whole game. At first, Lincoln reversed attempts at emancipation by Secretary of War Simon Cameron and Generals John C. Fremont (in Missouri) and David Hunter (in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida) in order to keep the loyalty of the Border States and the War Democrats.

End of Slavery

June 1865 - Jul 1865

The Civil War ends. Lincoln is assassinated. The Thirteenth Amendment abolishes slavery throughout the United States. On June 19 slavery in the United States effectively ended when 250,000 slaves in Texas finally received the news that the Civil War had ended two months earlier