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Slavery and Abolitionism - Research Paper Example

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College Date Slavery and Abolitionism Though anti-slavery and abolitionist movements sprouted in the early 19th century, the movements faced tough resistance from many quarters, especially for proposing that black be treated on the same platform as whites…
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Slavery and Abolitionism
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The abolitionist movements faced immense threats from political leaders who used legislation to halt the antislavery movement. For instance, a law was passed in Massachusetts in 1788 banning any ‘negro people’ from residing in the state, an attempt that challenged the declaration of liberty at independence (Minardi, 29). Interestingly, the determination of the minority groups was later to instill an abolitionist memory among some whites in Massachusetts, which late became the first state to outlaw slavery in America. As a result, most abolitionist movements were born and staged in Massachusetts, where they launched the fight against slavery. Massachusetts played an important role in the abolitionist campaign mainly backed by the fact that many revolutions had begun in the state, including the struggle for independence. Consequently, there was a strong revolutionary culture, which largely influenced the actions and beliefs of Bay citizens in future handling of the slave question (Minardi 170). Considering the strong sense of the concept of liberty gained in the fight for American independence, it was not surprising that Massachusetts people carried over these liberation thoughts to fighting slavery, making the state the center for abolitionist movements. Blacks had to position themselves strategically as heroes of the American Revolution to establish a strong relationship between the struggle and their abolitionist campaigns, which put them in a better pace to “further the abolitionist agenda” (Minardi, 171). Therefore, considering the abolitionist movement had their footing in Massachusetts and that even the whites had joined the abolitionist movements, there is a need to understand the integration of these factors towards abolition of slavery in America. Shilliam narrates of the perception that the whites created about blacks concerning black’s inability to be civilized, which fueled resistance among abolitionist movements across America. For instance Haiti, one of the several islands where freed slaves were dispatched, eh decision behind sending freed slaves to the Island was considered “as something unimaginable, unintelligible and unthinkable” (Shilliam 100). This implies that, to whites, the black man was completely savage and impossible to civilize towards adopting the European standards of life. As such, granting such person independence would not be of any value. To construct a clear picture on the status of Negros during slavery and the factors that fueled the antislavery movement, Fielder (488) explains whites’ perception of Africans, which fuelled opposition to abolitionist movements. For instance, the blacks were compared to inhuman primates, a common method that the whites used to justify enslavement and the impossibility of the blacks attaining civilization and living as free beings. The use of animals was meant to lower the status of blacks to the same level as domesticated animals, giving the whites the privilege and authority to dominate them for life. To illustrate the grave matter of portraying blacks as animals, the abolitionists, due to the spread of this belief and practice had to use “animalization of black people” towards appealing for humanity for the black people and the liberty as equal men to the whites (Fielder, 489). Read More
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