#AceHistory2ResearchNews – USA:Dec.18 – Slavery in the United States was the legal institution of chattel slavery that existed in the United States of America in the 18th and 19th centuries. Slavery had been practiced in British North America from early colonial days, and was recognized in the Thirteen Colonies at the time of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
When the United States was founded, even though some free persons of color were present, the status of slave was largely coincident with being of African descent, creating a system and legacy in which race played an influential role. After the Revolutionary War, abolitionist laws and sentiment gradually spread in the Northern states, while the rapid expansion of the cotton industry from 1800 led to the Southern states strongly identifying with slavery, and attempting to extend it into the new Western territories. The United States was polarized by slavery into slave and free states along the Mason-Dixon Line, which separated Maryland (slave) and Pennsylvania (free).
As the West opened up, the Southern states believed they needed to keep a balance between the numbers of slave and free states, in order to maintain a balance of power in Congress. The new territories acquired from Britain, France, and Mexico were the subject of major political compromises. By 1850, the newly rich cotton-growing South was threatening to secede from the Union, and tensions continued to rise. With church ministers under pressure to preach slavery doctrine conforming to the local politics, the Baptist and Methodist churches split into regional organizations. When Abraham Lincoln won the 1860 election on a platform of no new slave states, the South finally broke away to form the Confederacy. This marked the start of the Civil War, which caused a huge disruption of the slave economy, with many slaves either escaping or being liberated by the Union armies.
The war effectively ended slavery, before the Thirteenth Amendment (December 1865) formally outlawed the institution throughout the United States.