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Pre-Civil War Antislavery Movement and Debates Essay

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Updated: Dec 26th, 2020

Events that strengthened the antislavery movement before the Civil War

The infamous American Civil War was fought between 1861 and 1865 in America. This upheaval was mainly catalyzed by the controversial issue of slavery. According to historians, there are various events that are believed to have strengthened or informed the antislavery movement that emerged before the war. The first one was the introduction of a newspaper by the name The Liberator that was against any form of servitude.1 The death of Elijah P. Lovejoy has also been cited by historians as one of these events. Other occurrences included the formation of the American Colonization Society, the John Brown Movement, and the Compromise of 1850. The early years of the 1800s led to the Second Great Awakening in New England. This revolution focused on the best moral values and singled out slavery as a sin against mankind. Followers of this movement believed that every individual’s life was precious and valuable. These ideals were shared in the South since many people acknowledged that slavery was wrong.

The American Colonization Society of 1817 was aimed at transporting African Americans to Liberia. This move was appreciated by some people since it appeared to address the problem of subjugation. At the same time, many groups that were against the malpractice believed that the right time had come for America to establish a neutral society that promoted equality.2 From this discussion, it is quite clear that the issue of slavery had been described and taken seriously by many people and societies before the American Civil War. Due to the mixed reactions and divergent opinions, these events empowered more people to fight against any form of slavery in America. The emergence of this war would change the country’s race relations forever.

The arguments of the supporters of slavery

As the United States continued to expand westwards, many citizens wanted to become free, own property, and abolish slavery. However, there were specific groups that supported the malpractice during the time. They did so by presenting various arguments that have been referenced by scholars over the years. The first one was that the institution of slavery was good and capable of supporting the country’s economy growth.3 This was the case because the country was in need of sufficient labor to produce cotton and tobacco. The approach would support the economy of the South. The second argument was that slavery was not forbidden. In order to support this point, those in favor of slavery indicated that it was a common practice during the time of Jesus. They used different verses from the Holy Bible to sustain their views. Additionally, they asserted that ancient Rome and Greece were established through the power of slavery. As a result, these two civilizations led to the empowerment of mankind.

Many landowners and settlers in the South used the examples of the country’s Founding Fathers to support slavery. According to them, these heroes managed to write the American Constitution. They also owned slaves in order to achieve their potential. Using these examples, many individuals who supported and embraced this institution of slavery argued that it was inappropriate for any group to abolish it. The existence of these arguments and opposing views in the country played a crucial role in creating the best environment for the American Civil War.4 Some scholars have gone further to assert that most of the views presented by different proponents were illegitimate since serfdom was incapable of promoting equality.

Bibliography

Capek, Michael. The Battle Over Slavery: Causes and Effects of the U.S. Civil War. North Mankato: Capstone Press, 2015.

Edwards, Laura. A Legal History of the Civil War and Reconstruction: A Nation of Rights. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015.

Footnotes

  1. Laura Edwards, A Legal History of the Civil War and Reconstruction: A Nation of Rights (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 78.
  2. Laura Edwards, A Legal History, 102.
  3. Michael Capek, The Battle Over Slavery: Causes and Effects of the U.S. Civil War (North Mankato: Capstone Press, 2015), 47.
  4. Michael Capek, The Battle, 62.
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IvyPanda. "Pre-Civil War Antislavery Movement and Debates." December 26, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/pre-civil-war-antislavery-movement-and-debates/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Pre-Civil War Antislavery Movement and Debates." December 26, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/pre-civil-war-antislavery-movement-and-debates/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Pre-Civil War Antislavery Movement and Debates'. 26 December.

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