Slavery is an Established Social Institution

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Updated: Oct 19, 2023
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Slavery is an Established Social Institution

Slavery, once deeply entrenched in many societies, particularly in the American South, was more than just an economic system; it was a social institution that shaped every aspect of society. This topic examines the origins, justifications, operations, and ramifications of slavery, particularly its influence on social norms, laws, and inter-personal relationships. PapersOwl offers a variety of free essay examples on the topic of American Civil War topic.

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Slavery is an established social institution in which God did not condemn, is what Thomas Dew believed, whereas Thomas Jefferson believed the opposite; he said that slavery was a moral evil. This was one of the reasons that had started the American Civil War. Although the slave trade was abolished in 1808, slavery on plantations was still practiced in about 15 southern states, from Texas to the Carolinas. With the south having the ideal weather conditions to support cotton plantations and the implication of Missouri compromise, all the states above Missouri were to be free states and the states below were slave states.

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Slavery was constricted to being practiced and abused in the south. Although some Northerners were ignorant and clueless to the maltreatment that the slaves were receiving and didn’t become aware until rebellions started happening such as the Nat Turner rebellion, many abolitionists such as Abraham Lincoln fought for the abolishment of slavery. The confliction of Northerners and Southerners beliefs on slavery and the many acts and wars that aimed to settle the disputes, only aided in the commencement of the deadliest war of the United States, the American Civil War in 1860. Ironically, the civil war broke out because of the many things that were put in place to try and restore peace such as the Missouri Compromise.

The Missouri Compromise drew a line between Missouri and Maine all the way to the Pacific. It meant that all states above the line were considered free states and all states below were slave states. However, because Missouri already had slaves, they included Missouri as a slave state as well. After this, Texas had gained independence in 1836. Although the Missouri Compromise split through the state of Texas, it was considered to be a slave state. This aggravated the Northerners a lot because they felt as though the southerners had a great deal of power and were going to take over the US and make slavery existent everywhere. Polk from Mexico was then infuriated with the loss of land and decided he wanted to buy land in New Mexico and California.

However, he was denied which led to the Mexican-American War in 1846. Once again, this was another factor that increased the tensions between Northerners and Southerners. The US fought against Mexico and won 1/3 of its land which constitutes of modern-day California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico, which are all considered to be free states by a Pennsylvania delegate David Wilmott. The war ended because Santa Anna declared the Treaty of Guadalupe in 1848. After the war tensions rose again because of a new compromise that was implemented stating that although California was a free state, if any slaves were found in California, they were to be returned to a slave state; this was the California Compromise of 1850.

Northerners were enraged by this because they felt that this compromise went against the Missouri compromise of California being a free state and they did not want to return the slaves. In 1854, another Act was introduced that caused even more havoc. The Kansas-Nebraska Act. It stated that the people within those states could choose whether they wanted it to be a free state or a slave state. People then rushed to these states to vote which led to many Northerners and Southerners with strong conflicting beliefs to be in the same state. This act served to repeal the initial Missouri Compromise that states that both Kansas and Nebraska were free states, infuriating the northerners even more. It didn’t take long before violence occurred, and the government erupted in chaos, resulting in the bleeding Kansas. This was the first sign of a possible war due to slavery.

During this time, Charles Sumner was beaten unconscious for his speech on anti-slavery by Preston Brookes via cane. Later on, there was the case of Dred Scott which was a very confusing and trivial court case. It was against a slave that was removed, along with his wife, from Missouri, a slave state, to Wisconsin, a free state, and was still considered to be a slave. He went to court to testify of this unfair treatment and that he shouldn’t be considered a slave if he is in a free state. However, it was illegal to sue if you were a slave and it was legal to be removed by a slave master into a free state, and still practice slavery. The northerners take on this was pure unfairness; they felt as though free states did not exist because of the legal movement of slaves to wherever southern slave owners wanted to move them. Abraham Lincoln’s election was the last straw for the Southerners.

Due to his wishes to prevent the expansion of slavery, many southern states began to secede. He did not want to touch slavery where it already existed only limit its possibility of growth. However, southerners feared that slavery would become eliminated and did not want to be a part of a country where slavery did not exist. By the time of Lincolns inauguration 7 states had already seceded; they formed the Confederate states. These states began provoking the US, and their federal troops began targeting the forts. Lincoln had demanded that they do not attack Fort Sumter, but they did so anyway, and Lincoln had to make the call on whether or not to order more ships to protect the fort and fight back or allow another fort to be taken over.

However, the federal troops did not back down, and they open fired upon Fort Sumter, commencing the deadliest war of the United States, the American Civil War. Ironically, all the efforts that were put in place to calm the two sides and try and bring them together were things that only tore them even further apart. Although slavery is not existent in the US today, racism still is. People are still experiencing hate and this time it is not only white southerners to blacks, but it is also blacks to whites as well. Racism is a two-way street now, whites cannot let go of things from the past and blacks were so hurt and damaged that it is hard for them to put whites in a good light. Although the Civil War did move the US forward in some regard, the US still has a long way to go for complete equality amongst all races, genders and religions.

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Slavery Is An Established Social Institution. (2019, Sep 03). Retrieved from