How could America, the "land of the free," still allow slavery?
The Struggle Begins
In 1835, a poster appeared on walls throughout Washington, D.C. One drawing, labeled “The Land of the Free," The other, labeled “The Home of the Oppressed.”
“Shall such a man be held a slave in a Christian land?”
NO! NO! NO!
The poster posed a challenging question: How could America, the “land of the free,” still allow slavery? By the 1830s, growing numbers of abolitionists were asking this question.
Women Get Involved
Quakers stopped owning slaves in 1776. By 1792, every state as far south as Virginia became antislavery. Congress passed a law that ended the Atlantic slave trade in 1808. Once it became illegal to import slaves, Northern shipping communities had no more interest in slavery. Norther's however, wanted the cheap cotton that slave labor in the South provided.
Speaking at a meeting of abolitionists, Frederick Douglass spoke with a voice like thunder. When he described the cruel treatment of enslaved children, people cried. When he made fun of ministers who told slaves to love slavery, people laughed.
Many women were inspired by religious reform movements to become involved in the fight against slavery. When a young woman named Angelina Grimke spoke against slavery, an anti-abolition mob threw stones at her. When she kept speaking, they burned the building she was speaking in. Today we live in a world were we don't have to worry about being treated horrible for what we believe.
Sojourner Truth, former slave, had always been strongly spiritual and had preached throughout the North at religious meetings and on street corners. When she met Douglass and Garrison, their enthusiasm inspired her to speak out loudly about slavery. Truth argued that God would end slavery peacefully. Abolitionists were a minority, even in the North. But their efforts, and the violence directed at them, helped change Northerners’ attitudes toward slavery. Putting an end to it.
Constitution to the United States 13th Amendment Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.