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Anonymous Essay

774 words - 4 pages

The Underground Railroad, an elaborate escape network for slaves, was responsible for the abolition of slavery in the United States. Today, in most countries, our freedoms are protected by law and often taken for granted. We quickly forget that throughout human history, many have lived enslaved, with little or no personal freedoms. In Canada and the United States, slavery was a reality just a few generations ago. The first slaves arrived in British North America from Africa in 1619 and were traded for food. By 1708 twelve thousand African slaves were in Virginia. In 1776, the beginning of the American Revolution, the population of the state of Virginia was equally divided between whites and ...view middle of the document...

There were also a number of skilled slaves trained as blacksmiths, carpenters, mechanics, brick and stonemasons, furniture makers and wheelwrights.From the beginning of the slave trade, there were escape attempts. On slave ships some tried to jump overboard. Some groups managed to overpower their captors. In 1839, on the Spanish ship Amistad, fifty-three slaves seized control and ordered the ship be returned to Africa. The crew sailed the Amistad to the shores of North America instead, where the slaves were captured off the Long Island coast.In 1808, laws were passed that made the importation of slaves from Africa illegal. This drove the price of slaves up from $200 to $2500 per slave. As a result of these laws, the Amistad slaves fought for their freedom in the American court system. They were represented by the former United States president, John Quincy Adams. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Africans and they were allowed to be free.Many slaves fought against their enslavement. Occasionally there were widespread slave revolts, but most of these were unsuccessful and the slaves involved in the planning were killed. Some resisted in small...

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