The Civil War and the Complexities of the Abolition

There were many conflicts, reasons, and struggles that brought about the American Civil War, but there is no question that one of the hottest, most debated issues at that time was the issue of slavery. Should it be abolished? Should it be tolerated? Was it a state issue, or a federal one? Many questions arose about freedom, economics, consequences of abolition, and moralities of slavery. The people that supported the emancipation of slaves and the abolition of slavery had a united purpose, but did they have common incentives? Was the anti-slavery movement a movement towards racial equality, or did the push for abolition coexist with white supremacy? This paper seeks to look further into those who supported abolition before the Civil War and to examine their motives to see the complexities of the time in the areas of society and politics.
First, a new wave of thinking was arising within society. The thought that slavery was oppression, sinful and contradictory began to take root. It started with David Walker, a black man who was born free, who wrote thefirst anti-slavery protest published in 1829 entitled “An Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World…” It discussed slavery as a product of American greed that contradicted the core of the nation and advocated violence as self-defense. This appeal has been shown to encourage slave revolts throughout the slave communities, and in 1831 Nat Turner led 70 other slaves into the largest, bloodiest slave rebellion moving from plantation to plantation, killing white families, totaling 60 people. This sudden violence led to the establishment of the Colonizationists, who were comprised mostly of southern, white plantation owners. Fearing for their lives, these members were for the abolition of slavery, and to “recolonize” all blacks back to Africa, for their safety, not for the benefit of the slaves.
In 1832, William Lloyd Garrison established the American Anti-Slavery Society and furthe…


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