Abolitionism in the United States was the movement before and during the American Civil War to end slavery in the United States.
Slavery is a legal or economic system in which principles of property law are applied to humans allowing them to be classified as property, to be owned, bought and sold accordingly, and they cannot withdraw unilaterally from the arrangement.
Slavery in the United States was the legal institution of human chattel slavery that existed in the United States of America in the 18th and 19th centuries after it gained independence and before the end of the American Civil War.
The American Civil War was a civil war in the United States fought from 1861 to 1865.
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In the Americas and western Europe, abolitionism was a movement to end the Atlantic slave trade and set slaves free.
The Atlantic slave trade or transatlantic slave trade took place across the Atlantic Ocean from the 15th through 19th centuries.
The history of slavery spans nearly every culture, nationality, and religion and from ancient times to the present day.
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In the 17th century, English Quakers and Evangelicals condemned slavery as un-Christian.
Quakers are members of a historically Christian group of religious movements generally known as the Religious Society of Friends.
At that time, most slaves were Africans, but thousands of Native Americans remained enslaved.
In the 18th century, as many as six million Africans were transported to the Americas as slaves, at least a third of them on British ships.
Abolition was part of the message of the First Great Awakening of the 1730s and 1740s in the Thirteen Colonies.
The Great Awakening or First Great Awakening was an evangelical and revitalization movement that swept Protestant Europe and British America, especially the American colonies, in the 1730s and 1740s, leaving a permanent impact on American Protestantism.
The Thirteen Colonies were a group of British colonies on the east coast of North America founded in the 17th and 18th centuries that declared independence in 1776 and formed the United States.
In the same period, rationalist thinkers of the Enlightenment criticized slavery for violating human rights.
A member of the British Parliament, James Edward Oglethorpe, was among the first to articulate the Enlightenment case against slavery.
James Edward Oglethorpe was a British general, Member of Parliament, and philanthropist, as well as the founder of the colony of Georgia.
Founder of the Province of Georgia, Oglethorpe banned slavery on humanistic grounds.
He argued against it in Parliament and eventually encouraged his friends Granville Sharp and Hannah More to vigorously pursue the cause.
Soon after his death in 1785, Sharp and More joined with William Wilberforce and others in forming the Clapham Sect.
The Clapham Sect or Clapham Saints were a group of Church of England social reformers based in Clapham, London at the beginning of the 19th century.
Although anti-slavery sentiments were widespread by the late 18th century, colonies and emerging nations, notably in the southern United States, continued to use and uphold traditions of slavery.
The Southern United States, commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South, is a region of the United States of America.
After the American Revolution established the United States, Northern states, beginning with Pennsylvania in 1780, passed legislation during the next two decades abolishing slavery, sometimes by gradual emancipation.
The American Revolution was a political upheaval that took place between 1765 and 1783 during which colonists in the Thirteen American Colonies rejected the British monarchy and aristocracy, overthrew the authority of Great Britain, and founded the United States of America.
Emancipation is any of various efforts to procuring economic and social rights, political rights or equality, often for a specifically disenfranchised group, or more generally in discussion of such matters.
Pennsylvania, officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a state located in the northern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States.
Massachusetts ratified a constitution that declared all men equal; freedom suits challenging slavery based on this principle brought an end to slavery in the state.
Freedom suits were lawsuits in the Thirteen Colonies and the United States filed by enslaved people against slaveholders to assert claims to freedom, often based on descent from a free maternal ancestor, or time held as a resident in a free state or territory.
Massachusetts mass-ə-CHOO-sits; officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state in the New England region of the northeastern United States.
In other states, such as Virginia, similar declarations of rights were interpreted by the courts as not applicable to Africans.
During ensuing decades, the abolitionist movement grew in Northern states, and Congress regulated the expansion of slavery as new states were admitted to the Union.
Britain banned the importation of African slaves in its colonies in 1807 and abolished slavery in the British Empire in 1833.
The United States criminalized the international slave trade in 1808 and made slavery unconstitutional in 1865 as a result of the American Civil War.
Historian James M. McPherson defines an abolitionist "as one who before the Civil War had agitated for the immediate, unconditional and total abolition of slavery in the United States."
For the American Civil War general of similar name, see James B. McPherson.
He does not include antislavery activists such as Abraham Lincoln, U.S. President during the Civil War, or the Republican Party, which called for the gradual ending of slavery.
Abraham Lincoln was an American politician and lawyer who served as the 16th President of the United States from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865.