A report on Slavery in the United States

An animation showing when United States territories and states forbade or allowed slavery, 1789–1861
Slave auction block, Green Hill Plantation, Campbell County, Virginia, Historic American Buildings Survey
Slaves processing tobacco in 17th-century Virginia
Slaves on a South Carolina plantation (The Old Plantation, c. 1790)
Ledger of sale of 118 slaves, Charleston, South Carolina, c. 1754
Prince Estabrook memorial in front of Buckman Tavern on Lexington Green in Lexington, Massachusetts. Prince Estabrook, who was wounded in the Battle of Lexington and Concord, was the first black casualty of the Revolutionary War.
Continental soldiers at Yorktown. On the left, an African American soldier of the 1st Rhode Island Regiment.
This postage stamp, which was created at the time of the Bicentennial, honors Salem Poor, who was an enslaved African-American man who purchased his freedom, became a soldier, and rose to fame as a war hero during the Battle of Bunker Hill.
Advertisement in The Pennsylvania Gazette, May 24, 1796, seeking the return of Oney Judge, a fugitive slave who had escaped from the household of George Washington.
Confederate $100 bill, 1862–63, showing happy slaves farming. John C. Calhoun is at left, Columbia at right.
This portrait of Judge Samuel Sewall by John Smibert is in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Massachusetts.
Establishing the Northwest Territory as free soil – no slavery – by Manasseh Cutler and Rufus Putnam proved to be crucial to the outcome of the Civil War.
Statue of abolitionist and crusading minister Theodore Parker in front of the Theodore Parker Church in West Roxbury, Massachusetts.
Statue of prominent abolitionist Frederick Douglass in the Highland Park Bowl in Rochester, New York. Douglass was a great admirer of Theodore Parker.
Benjamin Kent, Old Burying Ground, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Simon Legree and Uncle Tom: a scene from Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), an influential abolitionist novel
Henry Clay (1777–1852), one of three founders of the American Colonization Society, which assisted free blacks in moving to Africa. Liberia was a result.
Movement of slaves between 1790 and 1860
Slaves Waiting for Sale: Richmond, Virginia. Painting by Eyre Crowe
Ashley's Sack is a cloth that recounts a slave sale separating a mother and her daughter. The sack belonged to a nine-year-old girl Ashley and was a parting gift from her mother, Rose, after Ashley had been sold. Rose filled the sack with a dress, braid of her hair, pecans, and "my love always"
Slave trader's business in Atlanta, Georgia, 1864
Peter or Gordon, a whipped slave, photo taken at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 1863; the guilty overseer was fired.
Wilson Chinn, a branded slave from Louisiana--Also exhibiting instruments of torture used to punish slaves
Slave sale, Charleston, 1856
U.S. brig Perry confronting the slave ship Martha off Ambriz on June 6, 1850
Eastman Johnson's 1863 painting "The Lord is My Shepherd"
Illustration from History of American conspiracies – a record of treason, insurrection, rebellion and c., in the United States of America, from 1760 to 1860 (1863)
James Hopkinson's Plantation. Planting sweet potatoes. ca. 1862/63
Slaves for sale, a scene in New Orleans, 1861
Mixed-race slave girls of predominant European ancestry, New Orleans, 1863 (see also white slave propaganda).
A slave auction, 1853
Five-dollar banknote showing a plantation scene with enslaved people in South Carolina. Issued by the Planters Bank, Winnsboro, 1853. On display at the British Museum in London.
Eastman Johnson (American, 1824–1906). A Ride for Liberty – The Fugitive Slaves (recto), ca. 1862. Oil on paperboard. Brooklyn Museum
Uncle Marian, a slave of great notoriety, of North Carolina. Daguerreotype of elderly North Carolina slave, circa 1850.
Slaves on J. J. Smith's cotton plantation near Beaufort, South Carolina, photographed by Timothy O'Sullivan standing before their quarters in 1862
Escaped slaves, ca. 1862, at the headquarters of General Lafayette
Four generations of a slave family, Smith's Plantation, Beaufort, South Carolina, 1862
Abraham Lincoln presents the first draft of the Emancipation Proclamation to his cabinet. Painted by Francis Bicknell Carpenter in 1864
An industrial school set up for ex-slaves in Richmond during Reconstruction
Many Native Americans were enslaved during the California Genocide by American settlers.
Percentage of slaves in each county of the slave states in 1860
Evolution of the enslaved population of the United States as a percentage of the population of each state, 1790–1860
Abolition of slavery in the various states of the United States over time:Abolition of slavery during or shortly after the American Revolution
The Northwest Ordinance, 1787
Gradual emancipation in New York (starting 1799) and New Jersey (starting 1804)
The Missouri Compromise, 1821
Effective abolition of slavery by Mexican or joint US/British authority
Abolition of slavery by Congressional action, 1861
Abolition of slavery by Congressional action, 1862
Emancipation Proclamation as originally issued, 1 Jan 1863
Subsequent operation of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863
Abolition of slavery by state action during the Civil War
Operation of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1864
Operation of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1865
Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. constitution, 18 Dec 1865
Territory incorporated into the U.S. after the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment

Prevalent in the United States of America from its founding in 1776 until 1865, predominately in states of the Southern United States.

- Slavery in the United States
An animation showing when United States territories and states forbade or allowed slavery, 1789–1861

180 related topics with Alpha

Overall

Clockwise from top: Battle of Gettysburg

Union Captain John Tidball's artillery

Confederate prisoners

ironclad USS Atlanta (1861)

Ruins of Richmond, Virginia

Battle of Franklin

American Civil War

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Civil war in the United States between the Union (states that remained loyal to the federal union, or "the North") and the Confederacy (states that voted to secede, or "the South").

Civil war in the United States between the Union (states that remained loyal to the federal union, or "the North") and the Confederacy (states that voted to secede, or "the South").

Clockwise from top: Battle of Gettysburg

Union Captain John Tidball's artillery

Confederate prisoners

ironclad USS Atlanta (1861)

Ruins of Richmond, Virginia

Battle of Franklin
Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe, aroused public opinion about the evils of slavery. According to legend, when Lincoln was introduced to her at the White House, his first words were, "So this is the little lady who started this Great War."
Frederick Douglass, a former slave, was a leading abolitionist
Marais des Cygnes massacre of anti-slavery Kansans, May 19, 1858
Mathew Brady, Portrait of Abraham Lincoln, 1860
The first published imprint of secession, a broadside issued by the Charleston Mercury, December 20, 1860
Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America (1861–1865)
Bombardment of the Fort by the Confederates
Rioters attacking a building during the New York anti-draft riots of 1863
Clashes on the rivers were melees of ironclads, cottonclads, gunboats and rams, complicated by naval mines and fire rafts.
Battle between the USS Monitor and USS Merrimack (1855)
General Scott's "Anaconda Plan" 1861. Tightening naval blockade, forcing rebels out of Missouri along the Mississippi River, Kentucky Unionists sit on the fence, idled cotton industry illustrated in Georgia.
Gunline of nine Union ironclads. South Atlantic Blockading Squadron off Charleston. Continuous blockade of all major ports was sustained by North's overwhelming war production.
A December 1861 cartoon in Punch magazine in London ridicules American aggressiveness in the Trent Affair. John Bull, at right, warns Uncle Sam, "You do what's right, my son, or I'll blow you out of the water."
County map of Civil War battles by theater and year
Robert E. Lee
"Stonewall" Jackson got his nickname at Bull Run.
George B. McClellan
The Battle of Antietam, the Civil War's deadliest one-day fight.
Confederate dead overrun at Marye's Heights, reoccupied next day May 4, 1863
Pickett's Charge
Ulysses S. Grant
Albert Sidney Johnston died at Shiloh
By 1863, the Union controlled large portions of the Western Theater, especially areas surrounding the Mississippi River
The Battle of Chickamauga, the highest two-day losses
Nathaniel Lyon secured St. Louis docks and arsenal, led Union forces to expel Missouri Confederate forces and government.
New Orleans captured
William Tecumseh Sherman
These dead soldiers—from Ewell's May 1864 attack at Spotsylvania—delayed Grant's advance on Richmond in the Overland Campaign.
Philip Sheridan
Map of Confederate territory losses year by year
Burying Union dead on the Antietam battlefield, 1862
Through the supervision of the Freedmen's Bureau, northern teachers traveled into the South to provide education and training for the newly freed population.
Beginning in 1961 the U.S. Post Office released commemorative stamps for five famous battles, each issued on the 100th anniversary of the respective battle.
The Battle of Fort Sumter, as depicted by Currier and Ives.
Slave states that seceded before April 15, 1861 Slave states that seceded after April 15, 1861 Union states that permitted slavery (border states) Union states that banned slavery
Territories
US Secession map. The Union vs. the Confederacy.
Union states
Union territories not permitting slavery
Border Union states, permitting slavery (One of these states, West Virginia was created in 1863)
Confederate states
Union territories that permitted slavery (claimed by Confederacy) at the start of the war, but where slavery was outlawed by the U.S. in 1862
The Battle of Antietam, the Civil War's deadliest one-day fight.
Abolition of slavery in the various states of the United States over time:Abolition of slavery during or shortly after the American Revolution
The Northwest Ordinance, 1787
Gradual emancipation in New York (starting 1799, completed 1827) and New Jersey (starting 1804, completed by Thirteenth Amendment, 1865)
The Missouri Compromise, 1821
Effective abolition of slavery by Mexican or joint US/British authority
Abolition of slavery by Congressional action, 1861
Abolition of slavery by Congressional action, 1862
Emancipation Proclamation as originally issued, January 1, 1863
Subsequent operation of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863
Abolition of slavery by state action during the Civil War
Operation of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1864
Operation of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1865
Thirteenth Amendment to the US constitution, December 18, 1865
Territory incorporated into the US after the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment
Oath to defend the Constitution of the United States and, among other promises, to "abide by and faithfully support all acts of Congress passed during the . . . rebellion having reference to slaves . . . ," signed by former Confederate officer Samuel M. Kennard on June 27, 1865

The practice of slavery in the United States was one of the key political issues of the 19th century.

Collection box for the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, circa 1850.

Abolitionism in the United States

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Collection box for the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, circa 1850.
Thones Kunders's house at 5109 Germantown Avenue, where the 1688 Germantown Quaker Petition Against Slavery was written.
Samuel Sewall (1652–1730), judge who wrote The Selling of Joseph (1700) which denounced the spread of slavery in the American colonies.
Benjamin Kent, lawyer that freed a slave in America (1766)
Thomas Paine's 1775 article "African Slavery in America" was one of the first to advocate abolishing slavery and freeing slaves.
An animation showing when states and territories forbade or admitted slavery 1789–1861
Wm. Lloyd Garrison (1805–1879), publisher of the abolitionist newspaper The Liberator and one of the founders of the American Anti-Slavery Society.
Wood engraving of proslavery riot in Alton, Illinois, on 7 November 1837, which resulted in the murder of abolitionist Elijah Parish Lovejoy (1802–1837).
Lysander Spooner (1808–1887), an individualist anarchist who wrote The Unconstitutionality of Slavery (1845).
Idealized portrait of John Brown being adored by an enslaved mother and child as he walks to his execution.
Frederick Douglass (1818–1895), a former slave whose memoirs, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (1845) and My Bondage and My Freedom (1855), became bestsellers, which aided the cause of abolition.
Charles Turner Torrey, c. 1840, from Memoir of Rev. Charles T. Torrey, Joseph P. Lovejoy, ed. (Boston: John P. Jewett & Co.), 1847
Uncle Tom's Cabin inflamed public opinion in the North and Europe against the personified evils of slavery.
This Democratic editorial cartoon links Republican candidate John Frémont (far right) to temperance, feminism, Fourierism, free love, Catholicism, and abolition.
John Brown (1800–1859), abolitionist who advocated armed rebellion by slaves. He slaughtered pro-slavery settlers in Kansas and in 1859 was hanged by the state of Virginia for leading an unsuccessful slave insurrection at Harpers Ferry.
This photo of Gordon was widely distributed by abolitionists.
Wilson Chinn, a branded slave from Louisiana--became one of the most widely circulated photos of the abolitionist movement during the American Civil War
John Jay (1745–1829), a founder of the New York Manumission Society in 1785
This anti-slavery map shows the slave states in black, with black-and-white shading representing the threatened spread of slavery into Texas and the western territories.
Officers and men of the Irish-Catholic 69th New York Volunteer Regiment attend Catholic services in 1861.
Like many Quakers, Lucretia Mott considered slavery an evil to be opposed.
Plaque commemorating the founding of the Female Anti-Slavery Society in Philadelphia in 1833
Burning of Pennsylvania Hall, home of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society. Print by John Caspar Wild. Note firemen spraying water on adjacent building.
Henry Clay (1777–1852), one of the three founders of the American Colonization Society.
Abolition of slavery in the various states of the US over time:Abolition of slavery during or shortly after the American Revolution
The Northwest Ordinance, 1787
Gradual emancipation in New York (starting 1799) and New Jersey (starting 1804)
The Missouri Compromise, 1821
Effective abolition of slavery by Mexican or joint US/British authority
Abolition of slavery by Congressional action, 1861
Abolition of slavery by Congressional action, 1862ff.
Emancipation Proclamation as originally issued, 1 Jan 1863
Subsequent operation of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863
Abolition of slavery by state action during the Civil War
Operation of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1864
Operation of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1865
Thirteenth Amendment to the US constitution, 18 Dec 1865
Territory incorporated into the US after the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment

In the United States, abolitionism, the movement that sought to end slavery in the country, was active from the late colonial era until the American Civil War, the end of which brought about the abolition of American slavery through the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution (ratified 1865).

Portrait by Alexander Gardner, November 1863

Abraham Lincoln

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American lawyer and statesman who served as the 16th president of the United States from 1861 until his assassination in 1865.

American lawyer and statesman who served as the 16th president of the United States from 1861 until his assassination in 1865.

Portrait by Alexander Gardner, November 1863
The farm site where Lincoln grew up in Spencer County, Indiana
Lincoln's home in Springfield, Illinois
Lincoln in his late 30s as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Photo taken by one of Lincoln's law students around 1846.
Lincoln in 1857
Lincoln in 1858, the year of his debates with Stephen Douglas over slavery
A portrait of Dred Scott, petitioner in Dred Scott v. Sandford
Abraham Lincoln (1860) by Mathew Brady, taken the day of the Cooper Union speech
A Timothy Cole wood engraving taken from a May 20, 1860, ambrotype of Lincoln, two days following his nomination for president
Headlines on the day of Lincoln's inauguration portended hostilities with the Confederacy, Fort Sumter being attacked less than six weeks later.
March 1861 inaugural at the Capitol building. The dome above the rotunda was still under construction.
Lincoln with officers after the Battle of Antietam. Notable figures (from left) are 1. Col. Delos Sackett; 4. Gen. George W. Morell; 5. Alexander S. Webb, Chief of Staff, V Corps; 6. McClellan;. 8. Dr. Jonathan Letterman; 10. Lincoln; 11. Henry J. Hunt; 12. Fitz John Porter; 15. Andrew A. Humphreys; 16. Capt. George Armstrong Custer.
Running the Machine: An 1864 political cartoon satirizing Lincoln's administration – featuring William Fessenden, Edwin Stanton, William Seward, Gideon Welles, Lincoln, and others
Lincoln and McClellan
Lincoln, absent his usual top hat, is highlighted at Gettysburg.
An electoral landslide for Lincoln (in red) in the 1864 election; southern states (brown) and territories (gray) not in play
A poster of the 1864 election campaign with Lincoln as the candidate for president and Andrew Johnson as the candidate for vice president
Lincoln's second inaugural address in 1865 at the almost completed Capitol building
A political cartoon of Vice President Andrew Johnson (a former tailor) and Lincoln, 1865, entitled The 'Rail Splitter' At Work Repairing the Union. The caption reads (Johnson): "Take it quietly Uncle Abe and I will draw it closer than ever." (Lincoln): "A few more stitches Andy and the good old Union will be mended."
Shown in the presidential booth of Ford's Theatre, from left to right, are assassin John Wilkes Booth, Abraham Lincoln, Mary Todd Lincoln, Clara Harris, and Henry Rathbone.
Funeral of Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln, painting by George Peter Alexander Healy in 1869
Lincoln in February 1865, two months before his death
Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
The Lincoln cent, an American coin portraying Lincoln
Lincoln's image carved into the stone of Mount Rushmore|alt=See caption
Abraham Lincoln, a 1909 bronze statue by Adolph Weinman, sits before a historic church in Hodgenville, Kentucky.|alt=See caption
The Lincoln memorial postage stamp of 1866 was issued by the U.S. Post Office exactly one year after Lincoln's death.
Painting of Abraham Lincoln for the U.S. Capitol, by Ned Bittinger

Lincoln led the nation through the American Civil War and succeeded in preserving the Union, abolishing slavery, bolstering the federal government, and modernizing the U.S. economy.

Confederate States of America

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Unrecognized breakaway republic in North America that existed from February 8, 1861, to May 9, 1865.

Unrecognized breakaway republic in North America that existed from February 8, 1861, to May 9, 1865.

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Map of the division of the states in the American Civil War (1861–1865). Blue indicates the northern Union states; light blue represents five Union slave states (border states) that primarily stayed in Union control. Red represents southern seceded states in rebellion, also known as the Confederate States of America. Uncolored areas were U.S. territories, with the exception of the Indian Territory (later Oklahoma).
Evolution of the Confederate States, December 20, 1860 – July 15, 1870
Alexander H. Stephens, Confederate Vice President; author of the 'Cornerstone Speech'
The inauguration of Jefferson Davis in Montgomery, Alabama
Elias Boudinot, Cherokee secessionist, Rep. Indian Territory
William T. Sutherlin mansion, Danville, Virginia, temporary residence of Jefferson Davis and dubbed "Last Capitol of the Confederacy"
Map of the county secession votes of 1860–1861 in Appalachia within the ARC definition. Virginia and Tennessee show the public votes, while the other states show the vote by county delegates to the conventions.
The Seal, symbols of an independent agricultural Confederacy surrounding an equestrian Washington, sword encased
Recruitment poster: "Do not wait to be drafted". Under half re-enlisted.
Unionists throughout the Confederate States resisted the 1862 conscription
Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy from 1861 to 1865
Davis's cabinet in 1861, Montgomery, Alabama
Front row, left to right: Judah P. Benjamin, Stephen Mallory, Alexander H. Stephens, Jefferson Davis, John Henninger Reagan, and Robert Toombs
Back row, standing left to right: Christopher Memminger and LeRoy Pope Walker
Illustration printed in Harper's Weekly
Provisional Congress, Montgomery, Alabama
surviving Confederate mail
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Main railroads of Confederacy, 1861; colors show the different gauges (track width); the top railroad shown in the upper right is the Baltimore and Ohio, which was at all times a Union railroad
Passers-by abusing the bodies of Union supporters near Knoxville, Tennessee. The two were hanged by Confederate authorities near the railroad tracks so passing train passengers could see them.
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Richmond bread riot, 1863
Confederate memorial tombstone at Natchez City Cemetery in Natchez, Mississippi
This Confederate Flag pattern is the one most often thought of as the Confederate Flag today; it was one of many used by the Confederate armed forces. Variations of this design served as the Battle Flag of the Armies of Northern Virginia and Tennessee, and as the Confederate Naval Jack.
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A Home on the Mississippi, Currier and Ives, 1871
St. John's Episcopal Church, Montgomery. The Secession Convention of Southern Churches was held here in 1861.
Major-General John C. Breckinridge, Secretary of War (1865)
General Robert E. Lee, General in Chief (1865)
William L. Yancey, {{small|Alabama Fire-Eater, "The Orator of Secession"}}
William Henry Gist, {{small|Governor of South Carolina, called the Secessionist Convention}}
CSA Naval Jack
{{small|Battle Flag – square}}
Gen. Gabriel J. Rains, {{small|Conscription Bureau chief, April 1862 – May 1863}}
Gen. Gideon J. Pillow, {{small|military recruiter under Bragg, then J.E. Johnston<ref>Coulter, The Confederates States of America, p. 324.</ref>}}
Joseph E. Brown, governor of Georgia
Pendleton Murrah, governor of Texas
Jesse J. Finley
Henry R. Jackson
Asa Biggs
Andrew Magrath
John H. Reagan
Jefferson Davis, 5 cent
Andrew Jackson
George Washington
Potters House, Atlanta Ga
Downtown Charleston SC
Navy Yard, Norfolk Va
Rail bridge, Petersburg Va
1st National Flag
2nd National Flag
3rd National Flag
Battle Flag

All seven of the states were located in the Deep South region of the United States, whose economy was heavily dependent upon agriculture—particularly cotton—and a plantation system that relied upon enslaved Africans for labor.

Southern United States

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Geographic and cultural region of the United States of America.

Geographic and cultural region of the United States of America.

Texas Hill Country
Bluegrass region, Kentucky
Glass Mountains, Oklahoma
North Carolina's Appalachian Mountains
Field of yellow wildflowers in Saint Bernard Parish, Louisiana
Pearl River backwater in Mississippi
Misty Bluff along the Buffalo River, Ozark Mountains, Arkansas
Tidal wetlands of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland
Cherry River in West Virginia
The highlands of Grayson County in Southwest Virginia
1st Maryland Regiment holding the line at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse in North Carolina, 1781
The siege of Yorktown prompted Great Britain's surrender in North America during the American Revolutionary War, 1781
Slaves on a South Carolina plantation (The Old Plantation, circa 1790)
Grove Plantation in Tallahassee, Florida. Known officially as the Call/Collins House at the Grove. Built circa 1840.
Horse race meeting at Jacksonville, Alabama, 1841
Historic Southern United States. The states in light red were considered "border states", and gave varying degrees of support to the Southern cause although they remained in the Union. This illustration depicts the original, trans-Allegheny borders of Virginia, and thus does not show West Virginia (which separated from Virginia in 1863) separately. Although members of the Five Tribes in Indian Territory (today part of Oklahoma) aligned themselves with the Confederacy, the region is not shaded because at the time it was a territory, not a state.
Atlanta's railroad roundhouse in ruins shortly after the end of the Civil War
An African American family, photo-graphed by O'Pierre Havens, circa 1868
A Home on the Mississippi, by Currier and Ives, 1871
Child laborers in Bluffton, South Carolina, 1913
An illustration from Houston: Where Seventeen Railroads Meet the Sea, 1913
Photo of sharecropper family in Walker County, Alabama, circa 1937
Naval Air Station Miami, circa 1942–43
Street musicians in Maynardville, Tennessee, photographed in 1935
Alabama plays Texas in American football for the 2010 BCS National Championship Game
Houston vs Texas face-off during the 2013 Lone Star Series in the American League West division of Major League Baseball
The start of the 2015 Daytona 500, the biggest race in NASCAR, at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida
A rally against school integration in Little Rock, 1959.
U.S. president Lyndon B. Johnson signs the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Bill Clinton, newly elected Governor of Arkansas speaking with Jimmy Carter in 1978. Carter and Clinton were both Southern Democrats and elected to the presidencies in 1976 and 1992.
Racial segregation was required by state laws in the South and other U.S. states until 1964.
Dallas
Houston
Washington, D.C.
Miami
Atlanta
Tampa
Charlotte
Nashville
Louisville
New Orleans
University of Texas at Austin
Virginia Tech
University of Miami
Rice University

Aspects of the historical and cultural development of the South were influenced by the institution of slave labor, especially in the Deep South and coastal plain areas, from the early 1600s to mid-1800s.

An animation showing the free/slave status of U.S. states and territories, 1789–1861 (see separate yearly maps below). The American Civil War began in 1861. The 13th Amendment, effective December 1865, abolished slavery in the U.S.

Slave states and free states

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An animation showing the free/slave status of U.S. states and territories, 1789–1861 (see separate yearly maps below). The American Civil War began in 1861. The 13th Amendment, effective December 1865, abolished slavery in the U.S.
During the American Revolution (1775-1783) some of the 13 British colonies seeking independence to become states began to abolish slavery. The U.S. Constitution ratified in 1789, left the matter in the hands of each state.
In the early years of the new United States, a north/south divide became evident
The Missouri Compromise of 1820, trading the admission of Missouri (a slave state) for Maine (a free state), drew a line extending west from Missouri's southern border, which was intended to divide any new territory into slave (south of the line) and free (north of the line).
With the statehood of Arkansas in 1836, the number of slave states grew to 13, but the statehood of Michigan in 1837 maintained the balance between slave and free states.
By 1845, with Texas and Florida in the Union as slave states, slave states once again outnumbered the free states for a year until Iowa was admitted as a free state in 1846.
By 1858, 17 free states, which included California (1850), and Minnesota (1858), outnumbered the 15 slave states.
By the eve of the Civil War in mid-1861, with the addition of Oregon (1859) and Kansas (1861), the number of free states had grown to 19 while the number of slave states remained at 15.
Division of states during the Civil War. Blue represents Union states, including those admitted during the war; light blue represents border states; red represents Confederate states. Unshaded areas were not states before or during the Civil War.
With the statehood of Arkansas in 1836, the number of slave states grew to 13, but the statehood of Michigan in 1837 maintained the balance between slave and free states.
By 1845, with Texas and Florida in the Union as slave states, slave states once again outnumbered the free states for a year until Iowa was admitted as a free state in 1846.
Division of states during the Civil War. Blue represents Union states, including those admitted during the war; light blue represents border states; red represents Confederate states. Unshaded areas were not states before or during the Civil War.
Abolition of slavery in the various states of the US over time:Abolition of slavery during or shortly after the American Revolution
The Northwest Ordinance (slavery excluded), 1787
Gradual emancipation in New York (starting 1799, completed 1827) and New Jersey (starting 1804, completed by Thirteenth Amendment, 1865)
The Missouri Compromise, 1821
Effective abolition of slavery by Mexican or joint US/British authority
Exclusion of slavery by Congressional action, 1861
Abolition of slavery by Congressional action, 1862
Emancipation Proclamation as originally issued, January 1, 1863
Subsequent operation of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863
Abolition of slavery by state action during the Civil War
Operation of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1864
Operation of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1865
Thirteenth Amendment to the US constitution, December 18, 1865
Territory incorporated into the US after the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment

In the United States before 1865, a slave state was a state in which slavery and the internal or domestic slave trade were legal, while a free state was one in which they were not.

Abolitionist imagery focused on atrocities against slaves. (Photo of Gordon, 1863.)

Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

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Abolitionist imagery focused on atrocities against slaves. (Photo of Gordon, 1863.)
Abraham Lincoln
Representative James Mitchell Ashley proposed an amendment abolishing slavery in 1863.
Celebration erupts after the Thirteenth Amendment is passed by the House of Representatives.
Amendment XIII in the National Archives, bearing the signature of Abraham Lincoln
John Marshall Harlan became known as "The Great Dissenter" for his minority opinions favoring powerful Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments.
Abolitionist imagery focused on atrocities against slaves. (Photo of Gordon, 1863.)
Ratified amendment, 1865
Ratified amendment post-enactment, 1865–1870
Ratified amendment after first rejecting amendment, 1866–1995
Territories of the United States in 1865, not yet states

The Thirteenth Amendment (Amendment XIII) to the United States Constitution abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime.

African Americans

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Ethnic group consisting of Americans with partial or total ancestry from sub-Saharan Africa.

Ethnic group consisting of Americans with partial or total ancestry from sub-Saharan Africa.

Slaves processing tobacco in 17th-century Virginia, illustration from 1670
The first slave auction at New Amsterdam in 1655, illustration from 1895 by Howard Pyle
Reproduction of a handbill advertising a slave auction in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1769
Crispus Attucks, the first "martyr" of the American Revolution. He was of Native American and African-American descent.
Frederick Douglass, ca 1850
Slaves Waiting for Sale: Richmond, Virginia, 1853. Note the new clothes. The domestic slave trade broke up many families, and individuals lost their connection to families and clans.
Harriet Tubman, around 1869
A group of White men pose for a 1919 photograph as they stand over the Black victim Will Brown who had been lynched and had his body mutilated and burned during the Omaha race riot of 1919 in Omaha, Nebraska. Postcards and photographs of lynchings were popular souvenirs in the U.S.
Rosa Parks being fingerprinted after being arrested for not giving up her seat on a bus to a White person
March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, August 28, 1963, shows civil rights leaders and union leaders
Black Lives Matter protest in response to the fatal shooting of Philando Castile in July 2016
Proportion of African Americans in each U.S. state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico as of the 2020 United States Census
U.S. Census map indicating U.S. counties with fewer than 25 Black or African-American inhabitants
Graph showing the percentage of the African-American population living in the American South, 1790–2010. Note the major declines between 1910 and 1940 and 1940–1970, and the reverse trend post-1970. Nonetheless, the absolute majority of the African-American population has always lived in the American South.
Former slave reading, 1870
Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is director of New York City's Hayden Planetarium
The US homeownership rate according to race
This graph shows the real median US household income by race: 1967 to 2011, in 2011 dollars.
"Lift Every Voice and Sing" being sung by the family of Barack Obama, Smokey Robinson and others in the White House in 2014
Genetic clustering of 128 African Americans, by Zakharaia et al. (2009). Each vertical bar represents an individual. The color scheme of the bar plot matches that in the PCA plot.
Al Sharpton led the Commitment March: Get Your Knee Off Our Necks protest on August 28, 2020.
Although the ban on interracial marriage ended in California in 1948, entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. faced a backlash for his involvement with a White woman in 1957
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. remains the most prominent political leader in the American civil rights movement and perhaps the most influential African-American political figure in general.
BET founder Robert L. Johnson with former U.S. President George W. Bush
A traditional soul food dinner consisting of fried chicken with macaroni and cheese, collard greens, breaded fried okra and cornbread
Mount Zion United Methodist Church is the oldest African-American congregation in Washington, D.C.
Masjid Malcolm Shabazz in Harlem, New York City
This parade float displayed the word "Afro-Americans" in 1911.
Michelle Obama was the First Lady of the United States; she and her husband, President Barack Obama, are the first African Americans to hold these positions.
Racially segregated Negro section of keypunch operators at the US Census Bureau

The term "African American" generally denotes descendants of enslaved Africans who are from the United States.

Abraham Lincoln

Emancipation Proclamation

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Presidential proclamation and executive order issued by United States President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, during the Civil War.

Presidential proclamation and executive order issued by United States President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, during the Civil War.

Abraham Lincoln
The moment the proclamation was signed, portrayed by Lee Lawrie in Lincoln, Nebraska
Medical examination photograph of Gordon, widely distributed by abolitionists to expose the brutality of slavery
Eastman Johnson (American, 1824–1906) – A Ride for Liberty – The Fugitive Slaves (recto), ca. 1862
1864 reproduction of the Emancipation Proclamation from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
A printed broadside recruiting men of color to enlist in the U.S. military after the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania).
Areas covered by the Emancipation Proclamation are in red, slave-holding areas not covered are in blue
A photograph of two children who likely, were recently emancipated – circa 1870
Winslow Homer 1876 – "A Visit from the Old Mistress" depicts a tense meeting between a group of newly freed slaves and their former slaveholder – Smithsonian Museum of American Art
"Abe Lincoln's Last Card; Or, Rouge-et-Noir (Red and Black)", a cartoon by John Tenniel printed by Punch after the London Times wrote in October 1862 that Lincoln had played his "last card" in issuing the Proclamation. Lincoln's hair is in points, suggesting horns. The cartoon was reprinted often in the Copperhead press.
Emancipation from Freedmen's viewpoint, illustration from Harper's Weekly 1865
President Barack Obama views the Emancipation Proclamation in the Oval Office hung above a bust of Martin Luther King Jr. in 2010
U.S. commemorative stamp, 1963

The Proclamation changed the legal status of more than 3.5 million enslaved African Americans in the secessionist Confederate states from enslaved to free.

United States

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Transcontinental country primarily located in North America.

Transcontinental country primarily located in North America.

Cliff Palace in Colorado, built by the Native American Puebloans between AD 1190 and 1260
The original Thirteen Colonies (shown in red) in 1775
Declaration of Independence, a painting by John Trumbull, depicts the Committee of Five presenting the draft of the Declaration to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, July 4, 1776.
Territorial acquisitions of the United States between 1783 and 1917
The Battle of Gettysburg, fought between Union and Confederate forces on July 1–3, 1863 around Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, was the deadliest of all Civil War battles. With more than 51,000 casualties, it marked a turning point in the Union's ultimate victory in the war.
U.S. Marines raising the American flag on Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in one of the most iconic images of World War II
Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his famous "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington, August 1963.
U.S. president Ronald Reagan (left) and Soviet general secretary Mikhail Gorbachev at the Geneva Summit, February 1985
The World Trade Center in New York City burning from the September 11 terrorist attacks by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda in 2001
Topographic map of the United States.
A map showing climate regions in the United States
The bald eagle has been the national bird of the United States since 1782.
Map of the United States showing the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the five major U.S. territories
The headquarters of the United Nations, of which the U.S. is a founding member, has been situated in Midtown Manhattan since 1952.
U.S. Government spending and revenue from 1792 to 2018
The Pentagon, located in Arlington, Virginia across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., is home to the U.S. Department of Defense.
Total incarceration in the United States by year (1920–2014)
A proportional representation of United States exports, 2019
Buzz Aldrin on the Moon, July 1969
Wealth inequality in the U.S. increased between 1989 and 2013.
The Interstate Highway System in the contiguous United States, which extends 46876 mi
Most prominent religion by state according to a 2014 Pew Research study
Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, the primary teaching hospital of the University of Miami's Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine and the largest hospital in the United States with 1,547 beds
The University of Virginia, founded by Thomas Jefferson, is one of the many public colleges and universities in the United States. Some 80% of U.S. college students attend these types of institutions.
The Statue of Liberty, a gift from France, has become an iconic symbol of the American Dream.
Mark Twain, American author and humorist
Roast turkey, a traditional menu item of an American Thanksgiving dinner, November 2021
Grammy Museum at L.A. Live in Los Angeles, April 2009
The Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles, California, September 2015
The headquarters of the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) at Rockefeller Plaza in New York City
"the united states of America", April 6, 1776
Mayflower II, a replica of the original Mayflower, docked at Plymouth, Massachusetts
Slave states that seceded before April 15, 1861 Slave states that seceded after April 15, 1861 Union states that permitted slavery (border states) Union states that banned slavery
Territories
The Empire State Building was the tallest building in the world when completed in 1931, during the Great Depression.
Worker during construction of the Empire State Building in New York City in 1930; the Chrysler Building can be seen in the background
Rock formations in the Grand Canyon, northern Arizona
Mushroom cloud formed by the Trinity Experiment in July 1945, part of the Manhattan Project, the first detonation of a nuclear weapon in history
The bald eagle has been the national bird of the United States since 1782.
The World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan during the September 11 attacks by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda in 2001
The amount of US debt, measured as a percentage of GDP from 1790 to 2018
Topographic map of the United States
The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73)
Köppen climate types of the U.S.
The New York City Police Department is the nation's largest municipal law enforcement agency.
The bald eagle has been the national bird of the United States since 1782.
The New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street in New York City
The United States Capitol, where Congress meets: the Senate, left; the House, right
Percentage of respondents in the United States saying that religion is "very important" or "somewhat important" in their lives (2014)
The White House, residence and workplace of the U.S. President
The Texas Medical Center in downtown Houston is the largest medical complex in the world.
The Supreme Court Building, where the nation's highest court sits
The United Nations headquarters has been situated along the East River in Midtown Manhattan since 1952. The United States is a founding member of the UN.
The Pentagon, near Washington, D.C., is home to the U.S. Department of Defense.
U.S. dollar is the currency most used in international transactions and is the world's foremost reserve currency.
The New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street, the world's largest stock exchange by market capitalization of its listed companies
U.S. astronaut Buzz Aldrin saluting the flag on the Moon, 1969
The Statue of Liberty, a gift from France, has become an iconic symbol of the American Dream.
The Capitol Records Building, the home of the Capitol Studios, among the cultural landmarks of Los Angeles.
The Walt Disney Company is one of the biggest American multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate

The controversy surrounding the continued practice of slavery in the Southern states in light of the ongoing abolitionist movement culminated in their secession and unification under the Confederate States of America, which fought the United States (the Union) during the American Civil War (1861–1865).