The Rise and Impact of Abolitionism

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Even as this great country began, slavery began its downward spiral and abolitionism started to come to the forefront. From the time the Declaration of Independence was signed, abolitionism was on the rise in the United States of America. Between the years of 1776 and 1865 many tactics were used by abolitionists to end slavery. While legislation and the media played a large part in the advancement of abolitionism, so did conferences, organizations, and movements along with direct action. These tactics left the United States not only covered with blood, but scarred with imaginary lines. Abolitionism transformed this country and changed life for many of the day. Abolitionists used legislation to their advantage. This is evident from the early beginnings of this nation. From the Declaration of Independence, to the Missouri Compromise, to the Compromise of 1850, those dedicated to ending slavery tried their best to make sure that slavery did not spread any farther than it already had. This trend started with legislation in Northern states. Delaware’s 1776 constitution banned the slave trade in the state, while the first state to actually ban slavery was Massachusetts in 1780 (Parker). Through either gradual emancipation or manumission, all slaves in the Northeastern United States were freed by 1848, with Connecticut being last (Parker). The original draft of The Declaration of Independence actually spoke of the cruelty of slavery. This is especially surprising since the writer was Thomas Jefferson, a Virginia slave owner. In the declaration draft Jefferson stated several grievances against King George, and included a passionate assault on slavery and the slave trade (Maier). Jefferson blamed the presence of slaves in the colonies on King George. This grievance read as follows: “he has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most
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