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ENGLISH 357: SOUTHERN LITERATURE DR. GARY RICHARDS Key Dates in American (Later U.S.) Slavery to 1840.

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Presentation on theme: "ENGLISH 357: SOUTHERN LITERATURE DR. GARY RICHARDS Key Dates in American (Later U.S.) Slavery to 1840."— Presentation transcript:

1 ENGLISH 357: SOUTHERN LITERATURE DR. GARY RICHARDS Key Dates in American (Later U.S.) Slavery to 1840

2 1492 Christopher Columbus, exploring under the Spanish flag, arrives in the Caribbean and immediately assesses the viability of natives being used for forced labor. Over the next decade, however, as European disease decimates native populations, it becomes clear that other labor sources will be needed to meet European demands.

3 1502 Major Portuguese- and Spanish-sponsored transatlantic slave trade emerges, with most enslaved persons being taking from the western coast of Africa to ever- expanding European colonial holdings in the Western Hemisphere.

4 1619 A Dutch shipment of slaves arrives in Jamestown, Virginia.

5 1626 A Dutch shipment of slaves arrives in New Amsterdam, New Netherlands (later New York, New York).

6 1642 The British colony of Massachusetts legalizes slavery.

7 1661 The British colony of Virginia legalizes slavery.

8 1700s The Atlantic slave trade reaches its height as European colonies develop in North America, South America, and the Caribbean, especially with the entrenchment of the hacienda and plantation systems. In the British and French colonies of North America, slave codes (or “black codes”) are formalized, such as the Code Noir, first articulated in 1685 to govern French colonies. In North America, slavery becomes increasingly racialized as indentured servitude diminishes.

9 1777 Vermont abolishes slavery.

10 1787 Debates about slavery punctuate the writing of the U.S. Constitution, which ultimately includes a ban on the importation of slaves in 1808, the prohibition of slavery in the Old Northwest (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan), and the Three-Fifth Compromise. The latter determines that slaves will count as three-fifths of a person in both the apportionment of levied taxes and the determination of governmental representation, which benefits slave-rich southern regions and gives them significant political power until the middle of the nineteenth century. Slave- owning Presidents, for instance, dominate the White House until 1840: George Washington ( ), Thomas Jefferson ( ), James Madison ( ), James Monroe ( ), and Andrew Jackson ( ), who serve a total of forty years; non-slave-owning Presidents are John Adams ( ), John Quincy Adams ( ), and Martin Van Buren ( ), who serve a total of twelve years.

11 1793 Eli Whitney develops the cotton gin, allowing for the boom of “King Cotton,” especially as slavery is carried into the Old Southwest (Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi).

12 1803 Thomas Jefferson acquires the Louisiana Purchase from France, bringing in massive amounts of territory, much of which is earmarked for cotton’s expansion (southern Missouri, Arkansas, northern Louisiana); entrenched slavery in southern Louisiana, with its vast sugar cane plantations; and New Orleans, a center of slave trading and, by 1840, the third largest city in the U.S. and its wealthiest.

13 1804 After a decade of slave rebellion and revolution against the French ( ), Haiti becomes the first independent black-led nation and abolishes slavery.

14 1808 The U.S. constitutional ban on the importation of foreign slaves goes into effect. This promotes the westward- flowing internal slave trade.

15 1820 The Missouri Compromise brokers that, if Missouri is brought in as a slave state, slavery will exist only south of the state’s southern border in the rest of the Louisiana Purchase. Also, a balance between free and slave states will be maintained, with Maine balancing Missouri. This same year Spain allows Moses Austin an empresarial grant to bring 300 Anglos into the Texas region. Although Mexico gains independence from Spain the following year and abolishes slavery in 1829, the Anglos arrive with their slaves in ever increasing numbers. Finally, during this era, former-President Thomas Jefferson declares handling slavery to be like holding a wolf by the ears: one is afraid to hold on but also afraid to let it go.

16 1827 New York abolishes slavery.

17 1830s Organized abolitionism rises, especially in New England, led by person such as William Lloyd Garrison.

18 1831 Slave Nat Turner leads a bloody rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia, and meets with equally bloody white retaliation. Many southern states enact laws restricting slave literacy.

19 1834 The Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 abolishes slavery in the vast majority of the British Empire.

20 1836 Texans achieve their independence from Mexico, and plans immediately begin to bring Texas into the Union as a slave state.


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