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Slavery elective history: Politics

Year 10 Elective History




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The Political Legacy of American Slavery

The New York Times

The slave trade provided political power, social standing and wealth for the church, European nation-states, New World colonies and individuals.


When most of us think about the Civil War, we like to tell ourselves that the whole war was about slavery. This isn’t really true. While slavery was a big part of why the war was fought, it was not the only reason, and not even the main one. Still, it did have a great influence on the period leading up to the war, and the declaration of war itself. How did slavery affect America in the time before the Civil War, and how did it affect the war itself? Slavery was definitely a big part of the politics of the nation at the time. A lot of information about this period is known but many people tend to think that the American Civil war was only about slavery. Another thing many people that think about its the fact that the end of the war marked the start of some sort of unity in the United states which lasts until today.

Despite dramatic social transformations in the United States during the last 150 years, the South has remained staunchly conservative. Southerners are more likely to support Republican candidates, gun rights, and the death penalty, and southern whites harbor higher levels of racial resentment than whites in other parts of the country. Why haven’t these sentiments evolved or changed? Deep Roots shows that the entrenched political and racial views of contemporary white southerners are a direct consequence of the region’s slaveholding history, which continues to shape economic, political, and social spheres. Today, southern whites who live in areas once reliant on slavery—compared to areas that were not—are more racially hostile and less amenable to policies that could promote black progress.

There were three major political compromises on slavery during the Antebellum Era. First was the Missouri Compromise of 1820, which maintained a balance of slave and non-slave states. When that balance was tested with new states into the Union, the Compromise of 1850 was intitiated. When State sovereignty was challenged, the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 was the final compromise.


The Lincoln-Douglas debates were a series of seven debates between Democratic Senator Stephen A. Douglas and Republican challenger Abraham Lincoln during the 1858 Illinois senatorial campaign. The main issue of the debates was the extension of slavery into American territories.

History Detectives

Abolitionist Movement became a powerful political force. Governments were under pressure to suppress slavery but because it was so entrenched in the system it was a difficult and slow process.

The National Archives

The campaign in Britain to abolish slavery began in the 1760s, supported by both black and white abolitionists. The battle was long and hard-fought, with pro-slavery campaigners arguing that the slave trade was important for the British economy and claiming that enslaved Africans were happy and well-treated.