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Milestones and Key Figures in African American History 1619-1865

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Indentured Servants
1.The "headright" system enabled Chesapeake tobacco farmers to obtain both land and labor by importing workers from England
2. Chief source of agricultural labor in Virginia and Maryland before 1675. They accounted for 75 percent of the 130,000 English immigrants to Virginia and Maryland during the seventeenth century
Bacon's Rebellion 1676
1. The rebellion exposed tensions between backcountry farmers and the tidewater gentry
2. The rebellion prompted the tidewater gentry to reevaluate their commitment to the system of indentured servants
The Beginning of Slavery
1. The profitable cultivation of tobacco required inexpensive labor.
2.Slave labor in colonial Virginia and Maryland spread rapidly in the last quarter of the seventeenth century, as Blacks displaced White indentured servants in the tobacco fields
The Slave Trade
1. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the vast majority of Africans who survived the transatlantic passage ended up working on plantations in Brazil and the Caribbean
2. The fewest slaves were brought into British North America
Slavery in the American Colonies
1. Slavery was legally established in all 13 colonies by the early 1700s
2. Although enslaved, Africans maintained cultural practices brought from Africa
3. Tobacco was the most important cash crop grown in the Chesapeake colonies. Rice was the most important cash crop grown in South Carolina
4. Factors responsible for the development of slavery in the Southern colonies included the following:
The supply of indentured servants from England became insufficient by the late 17th century
The spread of tobacco cultivation westward created a demand for labor
Few 17th and early 18th century White colonists viewed human bondage as morally unacceptable
As its maritime power increased, England wanted to compete in the profitable slave trade begun by the Portuguese and Dutch
The Stono Rebellion 1739
1. This rebellion was one of the earliest known acts of rebellion against slavery in America
2. It was organized and led by slaves living south of Charleston, South Carolina. The slaves tried unsuccessfully to flee to Spanish Florida, where they hoped to gain their freedom
The Declaration of Independence
The document did NOT call for the abolition of the slave trade
The Northwest Ordinance of 1787
1. Excluded slavery north of the Ohio River
2. The first national document containing a prohibition of slavery
The Constitution
1. As written in 1787, explicitly guaranteed the legality of slavery in every state
2. The Three-Fifths Compromise was an agreement between the Southern and Northern states. Under the terms of this compromise, three-fifths of the population of slaves would distribution of taxes and the apportionment of the members of the U.S. House of Representatives
3. The Fourteenth Amendment invalidated the Three-Fifths Compromise. THe amendment specifically states, "Representatives shall be apportioned... counting the whole number of persons in each state."
The Haitian Slave Rebellion
1.This rebellion of the 1790s prompted an increase fear of slave revolts in the South
2. The rebellion was led by Toussaint L'Ouverture
Free African Americans
The following factors contributed to the growth of the free African American population:
The gradual emancipation laws of individual states
Manumission granted for Revolutionary War service
Manumission granted by slaveholders' wills
Natural increase among free African Americans
King Cotton
1. The following factors contributed to making cotton the South's most important cash crop:
The invention of the cotton gin made it possible and profitable to harvest short-staple cotton
Rich new farmland in the Deep South was opened to the cultivation of cotton. By 1850, the geographic center of slavery was moving southward and westward.
The rise of textile manufacturing in England created enormous demand for cotton
Southern Society
1. It is very important to remember that a majority of White adult males were small farmers rather than wealthy planters
2. The majority of White families in the antebellum South owned no slaves
3. Nonetheless, a small minority of planters who owned 20 or more slaves dominated the antebellum South
4. The cost of slave labor rose sharply between 1800 and 1860
Slave Society
1. Despite forced separations, slaves maintained social networks among kindred and friends
2, The dramatic increase in the South's slave labor force was due to the natural population increase of American-born slaves
3. During the antebellum period, free African Americans were able to accumulate some property in spite of discrimination
4. Although Southern legal codes did not uniformly provide for the legalization and stability of slave marriage, slaves were generally able to marry, and the institution of marriage was common on Southern plantations
5. The majority of slaves adapted to the oppressive conditions imposed on them by developing a separate African American culture
6. Slave revolts were infrequent. Most Southern slaves resisted their masters by feigning illness and working as slowly as possible
The Missouri Compromise of 1820
1. Provisions of this compromise included the following:
Maine would enter the Union as a free state
Missouri would enter the Union as a slave state
The remaining territory of the Louisiana Purchase above latitude 36 30' would be closed to slavery
2. Consequences included the following:
The number of Northerners and Southerners in the Senate remained the same
Most of the Louisiana purchase was closed to slavery.
The first major nineteenth-century conflict over slavery was settled
Slavery was temporarily defused as a national political issue
Texas
1. President Jackson resisted the admission of this state into the Union in 1836, primarily because he feared that the debate over the admission of this state would ignite the controversy of slavery
2. Following a joint resolution of Congress, this state joined the Union in December 1845
The Wilmot Proviso
1. This document specifically provided fro the prohibition of slavery in lands acquired from Mexico in the Mexican War
2. Congress did NOT pass this
The Compromise of 1850
1. California was admitted to the Union as a free state
2. Slave trade (but not slavery) was abolished in the District of Columbia
3. Territorial governments were created in New Mexico and Utah without and immediate deception as to whether they would be slave or free
4. A stringent measure-The Fugitive Slave Act- was enacted. The act proved to be the most controversial and divisive component of this compromise
Ostend Manifesto 1854
1. The manifesto was a proposal to seize Cuba by force
2. Enraged antislavery Northerners prevented it from being implemented
The Kansas Nebraska Act 1854
1. Provisions of the act included the following:
The proposed Territory of Nebraska would be divided into two territories, Kansas and Nebraska
The status of slavery would be settled by popular sovereignty
Popular sovereignty meant that the settlers in a given territory would have the sole right to decide whether or not slavery would be permitted
Senator Stephen A. Douglas was the leading proponent of popular sovereignty. Here is how Douglas explained the doctrine of popular sovereignty: "The great principle is the right of every community to judge and decide answer to this argument to say that slaver is and evil, and hence should not be tolerated. You must allow the people to decide for themselves whether it is a good or an evil
2. Consequences included the following:
This act repealed the Missouri Compromise, thus heightening sectional tensions
This act led to the demise of the Whigs
This act led to the rise of the Republican Party and Abraham Lincoln
Kansas became the first test of popular sovereignty
The Dred Scott Decision 1857
1. The Supreme Court ruled that Black people were not citizens of the Untied States and therefore could not petition the Court
2. This decision established the principle that national legislation could not limit the spread of slavery into the territories
3. By stating that Congress had no right to prohibit slavery in the territories, this decision repealed the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 and the Missouri Compromise of 1820
4. This decision became a contentious issue during the Lincoln-Douglas debates
Democrat and Republican Positions on Slavery
1. The Democratic Party was divided on the issue of expanding slavery into the territories
2. The Republican Party opposed the extension of slavery into the territories. However, the Republicans acknowledged that slavery should be protected in the states where it already existed
The Second Great Awakening
1. The religious spirit of this event increased public awareness of the moral outrages perpetuated by slavery
2. Contributed to the growth of the abolitionist movement
American Colonization Society
The goal of this society was the return of freed slaves to Africa
2. The leaders of this society were middle-class men and women
William Lloyd Garrison
1. He issued the first call for the "immediate and uncompensated emancipation of the slaves.
2. Here is a famous quote from the first issue of The Liberator, "Let Southern oppressors tremble... I will be as harsh as Truth and as uncompromising as Justice... I am in earnest-I will not retreat a single inch- and I WILL BE HEARD!"
Frederick Douglass
1. He was the most prominent Black abolitionist during the antebellum period.
2. Published in 1845, his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave exposed Americans to the horrors and inhumanity of slavery
3. Although best known as abolitionist, Douglass championed equal rights for women and Native Americans. He often declared, "I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong."
Harriet Beecher Stowe
1. wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin
2. Uncle Tom's Cabin intensified Northern opposition to slavery. Only the Bible sold more copies
The Emancipation Proclamation 1863
1. President Lincoln refrained from taking action to emancipate slaves until the Civil War had been in progress for almost tow years. Lincoln delayed because he wanted to retain the loyalty of the Border States.
2. The Union victory at Antietam gave Lincoln the opportunity to issue this document
3. This document only freed slaves in the Border States
4. This document did NOT free slaves in the Border States
5. The immediate effect of this document was to strengthen the moral cause of the Union
African Americans at War
1. For most of the Civil War, African American soldiers were paid less than White soldiers of equal rank
2. The South considered African Americans serving in the Union army as contraband
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