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Slavery and Politics in the Early American Republic$
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Matthew Mason

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780807830499

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807876633_mason

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Slavery and Politics to 1808

Slavery and Politics to 1808

(p.9) 1 Slavery and Politics to 1808
Slavery and Politics in the Early American Republic

Matthew Mason

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter charts the political history of slavery in North America from the American Revolution to 1808. It begins with America's years of struggle against Great Britain and the emergence of a new concern with human bondage that turned slavery into a potent weapon of partisan politics, both at home and abroad. It then looks at how Americans, both slaveholders and nonslaveholders, responded to these developments, paying particular attention to the rise of a sectional division over slavery between North and South for the first time. The chapter also examines the Federalists' connection to New England sectionalism and a particular brand of antislavery politics. It shows how the American Revolution created free states and slave states that were divided on the issue of slavery. Finally, it highlights 1808 as a pivotal year for the politics of slavery in America, not only because the Atlantic slave trade was finally abolished.

Keywords:   slavery, America, American Revolution, North, South, sectionalism, free states, slave states, slave trade

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