The history of the African-American in the United States during the pre-civil period (1860) has been shaped by “slavery” that not only shaped the lives of the African-American people but also the identity of the entire American nation …
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The history of the African-American in the United States during the pre-civil period (1860) has been shaped by “slavery” that not only shaped the lives of the African-American people but also the identity of the entire American nation since ‘slavery’ as a socio-political and economic institution Slavery as a legal institution had existed in North America for more than one hundred years before the United States was founded in 1776. But it continued in the South until the 13th Amendment of the US Constitution was passed to abolish slavery in 1865. In the United States, slavery was first practiced in Virginia, one of the former English Colony in 1619. Slavery as Accepted in the US Political Sphere: The Slave Codes Slavery in the US Constitution The Abolitionists often claimed that the US Constitution (before the passing of the 13th Amendment) was “a slave document created by slave owners” (Berkowitz and Moran). Indeed the truth of the abolitionists’ claim was first revealed in the “Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787” published by James Madison. Madison’s documents show that US democracy during those years was orientated, not by any humanitarian interests, but by the core political interests of both the Northern and Southern States. The Three-fifths Compromise Since slavery was economically profitable in almost all of the southern States and the pro-slavery southern Delegates wanted to be benefited from “increased representation in the House and the Electoral College”, the southerners wanted the slaves to be counted for enumeration. Meanwhile the northerners partially driven the contra-slavery motive as well as the motive to reduce the southern dominance, wanted to count only the free inhabitants of the states. Thus the Three-Fifths Compromise came into being declaring that three-fifths of the slave population would be counted. The aftermaths of the Three-fifths Compromise were such that the southern delegates began to dominate the Presidency and the Congress until the defeat of the south in the Civil War. Such dominance of the southerners further allowed them to manipulate the judicial and political power to exploit the African-American labor and thus the conditions of the African-Americans deteriorated. The 1793 Fugitive Slave Act One of the most mentionable events during the Southern Dominance in the Congress is the passing of the “1793 Fugitive Slave Act”. Since according to this Act any state including contra-slavery northern ones was bound to return a fugitive slave to its owner, slaves lost even their last escape from the inhuman exploitation of the slave-owners. Though the consequent 18o8 Law stopped international slave trade, interstate slave trade within the national territory continued. The effect of the 1808 Law was in favor of the anti-slavery northern states. Though the subsequent Missouri Compromise in 1820 brought the balance of power between the antislavery and pro-slavery factions of the United States, providing the northerners with the opportunity to dominate the House of Representative, slavery continued in the south. Dred Scott Case in 1854 and its Impacts The Dred Scott Case in 1854 can be considered as a milestone in the history of the African-American slavery in the United States. A close analysis of this case render a picture how slavery had shaped the African-Americans’ lives. The final decision of the Dred Scott Case was: since Scott was a black, he was not a citizen and he did not have the right to sue his master in the court. Slavery: Racism, Discrimination and Second Class Status The Scott Case infers that slavery in the United States had shifted its basis from war to color and from indentured servitude to slavery as a constitution supported practice of discriminating and depriving a group of people from their rights in
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