The Notion of Compromise in
American Politics (1787-1861)
Last year, you studied:
period 1776-1890
republican experiment
individual rights
liberty, property, equal opportunity and justice
for all.
What was obvious:
WASPS held economic and political power
what treatment was given to the other
Especially Indians & Blacks
As for Blacks,
If their condition did not change much during
the period from 1776 until the civil war…
the question of slavery more and more divided
North and South : sectionalism
(opposition North / South)
Native Americans : belonging to foreign nations
by the Founding Fathers, but special
relationships between them & white Americans
The American dream…
… not for minorities, ( the utter denial of the
founding Fathers’ ideals).
.. And the founding myths of the nation: a
contradiction to lead to the civil war.
- is part of Am. Life & culture
Made it possible to create the American
constitution => Am. Nation
Has influenced Am. Politics through the 19th
cent. to the day
*** Book: Peter B.Knupfer, The Union as it is,
(Constitutional Unionism & Sectional
Compromise, 1787-1861), Univ. Of North
Carolina Press, Chapel Hill & London, 1991.
I) Slavery in Context
II) Am. Law (Articles Confederation/ Bill of
Rights/ Declaration of independence
Compromise in context
Début TD: semaine 7: QCM + méthodo
III)Compromise & Concepts
TD 3: suggested paper
Semaine 10: Commentaire sur table (exercice)
Distressing & violent aspect of American
history:institution of slavery
Africans brought ag. their will to Britain's Am.
colonies and to the new USA
Herbert Aptheker (HISTORIAN), calculated : 100
separate slave revolts and conspiracies took
place from the 1600's to the end of the U.S. Civil
War in 1865.
many slaves:acts of individual opposition
damaging tools, working slowly, burning down
buildings occasional act of violence against
to attempt
In the New World (the Americas), slavery: a
system of forced labor designed to facilitate the
production of staple crops…
… included sugar, tobacco, coffee, and cotton
southern US, most important staples were
tobacco and cotton.
played a central role in the history of US. It
existed in all the English mainland colonies and
came to dominate productive relations from
Maryland south
Most of the Founding Fathers: large-scale
slaveholders, as were eight of the first 12
presidents of the US
…over slavery increasingly dominated Am.
politics, leading to the nation's only civil war,
wh. in turn finally brought slavery to an end
After emancipation, overcoming slavery's legacy:
a crucial issue in Am. history, from
Reconstruction following the Civil War to the
Civil Rights Movement a century later
. Although Dutch traders brought 20 Africans to
Jamestown, Virginia, as early as 1619,
throughout most of the 17th century the
number of Africans : grew very slowly
During those years : colonists experimented
with two other sources of unfree labor: Native
American slaves and European indentured
Most indentured servants: poor Europeans, to
escape harsh conditions traded 3 to 7 years of
their labor in exchange for the transatlantic
passage. At first English but later Irish, Welsh,
and German, servants consisted primarily of
young males:temporary slaves : bulk of
immigrants (17th cent.)
That number of indentured servant declined
sharply toward the end of the 17th century:=>
labor crisis
To meet the need, landowners turned to African
In Virginia, blacks : from about 7 % pop. in 1680
to + than 40 % by middle of 18th cent.
Beg. 17th: Holland/Portugal
late 17th and 18th centuries, naval superiority
England:dominant position in slave trade,
English traders transported millions of Africans
across the Atlantic
:=> slave trade 1 of the largest forced migrations
in history
early 16th century to mid-19th cent. , bet. 10
and 11 million Africans torn from their homes
largest importers of slaves : Brazil / Caribbean
sugar colonies: received well over 3/4 of all
Africans to the New World. About 6 % came to
the area of the present US.
Gloucester County, Virginia--Sept. 1663: first
major conspiracy
New York City Slave Rebellion--1712
Cato's Conspiracy/Stono Rebellion--1739
New York Conspiracy--March and April, 1741
Gabriel Prosser's Rebellion--1800
Slave rebellion in St. John the Baptist Parish -Jan 8-10, 1811
Fort Blount--1816
Denmark Vesey's Uprising--1822 (ingenuity of
the plot)
Nat Turner's Revolt--August, 1831
… Among other smaller rebellions
Jamestown – Plimouth Plantation –
Founding one nation: 1607
first permanent British settlement in America
3 years later, 1619 first African slaves(+/-20)
are brought to Virginia (byJohn Rolfe)
: arrive in port of Jamestown (named in honor of
King James) & sold to English settlers.
word « slave » not before 1656, and statutes
(blacks) appear casually in the 1660s
Millions of Native Americans were also enslaved,
part. in South America.
1620 Mayflower arrives at Cape
English Pilgrims : freely practice their religion.
They arrived: at Cape Cod, now coast of
a colony in 1691. Right now, settle and colonize
the new village of Plymouth (named after a
town in England).
What were to become of "peculiar institution »:
defined in the Virginia General Assembly from
about 1640 onwards
Whipping and branding
borrowed from Roman practice appeared early
Slave ( Emanuel) convicted :trying
to escape, ( 1640)
condemned to thirty stripes, with the letter "R"
for "runaway » on his cheek
Slavery in the US
… governed by extensive body of law developed
from the 1660s to the 1860s. Every slave state :
its own slave code and body of court decisions
All slave codes : slavery a permanent condition
Slaves : property
no slave marriage had any legal standing
Slaves charged with crimes in
…were tried in special non-jury courts created in
not to guarantee due process but to set an
example speedily.
The courts: hideous punishments to reassert
white authority. Offending slaves : hung, burned
at the stake, dismembered, castrated and
branded in addition to the usual whippings
White fear of black rebellion : a constant
Slavery spread quickly in the American colonies
US slaves states and free states
a slave state: where slavery of African
Americans and Native Americans was legal // a
free state : slavery was either prohibited or
eliminated over time.
15 states of the Union in wh. Slavery:legal
before civil war: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware,
Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland,
Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South
Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.
Slavery spread quickly
At first, legal status of Africans in Am. poorly
some, (like European indentured servants),
managed to become free after several years of
service. From the 1660s, however, the colonies
began enacting laws that defined and regulated
slave relations
Central to these laws …
:provision that black slaves, (+ children of slave
women) would serve for life => meant that
slavery could survive and grow…
demand for African slaves' labor arose from the
dvpt of plantation agriculture, the long-term rise
in prices and consumption of sugar, and the
demand for miners
were the final solution to the acute labor
problem in the New World
1641 : Massachusetts permits slavery of Indians,
whites, and Blacks in its Body of Liberties: first
mainland British colony to legalize slavery.
1642 : Virginia passes a fugitive slave law.
Offenders helping runaway slaves :fined in
pounds of tobacco. An enslaved person is to be
branded with a large R after a second escape
1645 : Merchant ships from
Barbados arrive in Boston
Cliquez pour modifier les styles du
texte du masque
Deuxième niveau
 Troisième niveau
 Quatrième niveau
 Cinquième niveau
The profitability of this exchange…
…encourages the slave trade in New England.
1650 : Connecticut legalizes slavery. Rhode
Island by this date has large plantations worked
by enslaved Africans.
1650 : Connecticut legalizes slavery. Rhode
Island by this date has large plantations worked
by enslaved Africans.
1663 : Maryland slave laws rules…
=> all Africans arriving in the colony : presumed
slaves. Free Europ. Am. women who marry
enslaved men lose their freedom/ Children of
Europ. Am. women and enslaved men are
Other North American colonies develop similar
Same year:
In South Carolina every new white settler :
granted 20 acres for each black male slave and
10 acres for each black female slave he or she
brings into the colony.
Maryland establishes slavery for life for persons
of African ancestry
New Jersey and New York also recognize the
legality of slavery.
Maryland enacts the first law in Colonial
America banning marriage between white
women and black men.
1670 : The Massachusetts legislature: its
citizens can sell the children of enslaved Africans
into bondage => separating them from their
1672 : Virginia law now bans prosecution for the
killing of a slave if the death comes during the
course of his or her apprehension.
1682 : New York enacts its first slave codes
restricting the freedom of mvt and the ability to
trade of all enslaved people in the colony.
1688 : Quakers in Germantown, Pennsylvania
denounce slavery (in first recorded formal
protest in North Am. Ag. the enslavement of
1690 *** By this year, all English colonies in
America have enslaved Africans.
IN THE SAME YEAR : resistance : Enslaved
Africans and Native Americans in Massachusetts
plan a rebellion.
Abolitionist: an individual who held strong antislavery views
African Diaspora: the dispersal of Africans in the
New World
Bondsperson: a person held in servitude as
human property to another
Coffle: a group of enslaved individuals
transported together for sale
Conductor: one who helped escaping persons
In 1690…
South Carolina enacts its first laws regulating
slave movement & behavior.
in 1691, Virginia enacts a new law which
punishes white men and women for marrying
black or Indians.
1694 : The success of rice cultivation in South
Carolina encourages the importation of larger
numbers of enslaved laborers esp. from Senegal
and other rice
producing regions of
West Africa.
NOTE : Late 1600s to late 1700s -The height of
the slave trade is sometimes called the
Triangular Trade, because it moves in a triangle.
The Triangle Trade
The demands of European consumers for New
World crops and goods helped fuel the slave
Following a triangular route between Africa, the
Caribbean & North Am., and Europe, slave
traders from Holland, Portugal, France, and
England delivered Africans in exchange for
products such as colonial rum, sugar, and
The Colonial Virginia Assembly defined as slaves
all servants brought into the colony who were
not Christians in their original countries as well
as Indians sold to the colonists by other Native
1708 : Africans in South Carolina outnumber
Europeans, making it the first English colony
with a black majority.
1711 : A public slave market opens in New York
City at the east end of Wall Street
1712 : The New York City slave : April 6. 9 whites
killed, unknown number of blacks die Colonial
authorities execute 21 slaves and six commit
1718 : New Orleans founded ( French). By 1721
the city has more enslaved black men than free
white men.
1724 : Boston :curfew on non-whites.
1735 : South Carolina: laws : enslaved people to
wear clothing identifying them as slaves.
1741 : South Carolina: most extensive slave
restrictions in British North Am. The laws ban
the teaching of enslaved people to read & write,
prohibits their assembling in groups or earning
money for their activities. The law also permits
slaveowners to kill rebellious slaves.
1762 : Virginia :voting rights to white men.
1775 : Af. Ams participate on the Patriot side in
the earliest battles of the Rev., Concord,
Lexington and Bunker Hill. IN THE SAME YEAR,
General George Washington reverses his earlier
policy of rejecting the services of slaves and free
blacks in the army. 5000 Af.-Ams serve during
the Rev. War including two predominantly black
units in Massachusetts, one in Connecticut, one
in Rhode Island.
The Society for the Relief of Free Negroes: first
of 4 meetings in Philadelphia on April 14: first
abolitionist meeting in North America. In 1784
the organization => the Pennsylvania Abolition
Society with Benjamin Franklin : first president.
The American War of Independence.
Approximately 450,000 enslaved Africans
comprise 20% of the population of the colonies
at the time of the Declaration of Independence.
The first Constitution of the US: the Articles of
Confederation, BUT they could not work and
keep the new nation united. Why?
1) There was no chief executive, no president of
the U.S. There was a "Committee of States"
made up of one delegate from each state (13).
This committee existed only during the intervals
between the sessions of the Congress. This
committee could in the absence of Congress
perform routine governmental functions only.
2) There was no real judicial department. There
was no court to handle disputes between the
3) A majority of 9 votes was required to pass
important laws.
4) Congress could requisition taxes from the
States but could not force the collection of
taxes: the states didn't pay the amount
5) Congress could not enlist troops. It could not
draft men, only requisition them into the armed
6) The members of Congress were paid by the
states and a state could recall any delegate at
any time.
=>the first, essential function of the delegates:
protect & advance the interests of their own
states & cooperate for the welfare of the US
when possible and when it coincided with their
states' interests
7) Congress was not given real power to
regulate interstate and foreign commerce. Each
state set its own import duties & soon each
state tried to protect its own internal trade by
levying tariffs against goods from other states.
Trade agreements between the US and a foreign
nation were nearly impossible => inter-state
trade—internal trade across state borders—
was very low.
8) Congress :not given the exclusive power to
issue paper money. The paper money situation
soon chaotic.
10) Amending the Articles of Confederation
required the unanimous vote of the 13 states,
which was difficult to obtain.
The Articles of Confederation
…effective only when ratified by all of the 13
states. All states ratified them quickly except
Maryland who held out until March 1781. Why?
Many large states had claims to western lands,
across the Alleghenies and into the Mississippi
River valley
Maryland was a small state and was afraid of
union with so many large states.... So Maryland
ratified the Articles of Confederation only when
the larger states relinquished their claims to
western lands.
An attitude : very important
… in that it induced the states to cede their
western lands to the United States. The
acquisition of these lands by the central
government set the stage for the Northwest
Ordinance of 1787 . It opened the settlement
of the West under federal control and avoided
later conflicts between the first 13 states.
1787 The Constitution is
completed. (Ratified 1788-89)
On September 17, 1787, the Constitution was
completed in Philadelphia… The new
government it prescribed came into existence
on March 4, 1789, after fierce fights over
ratification in many of the
Article Seven of the Const. of the US: process by
it was to become effective => 9 of the thirteen
original States: ratify the Const. through
legislative approval. With 11 states , the
Congress of the Confederation : resolution on
September 13, 1788 to put the new Const. into
The US Constitution…
… provides for the continuation of the slave
trade for another 20 years and required states to
aid slaveholders in the recovery of fugitive
slaves. It also stipulates that a slave counts as
three-fifths of a man for purposes of
determining representation in the House of
1791 The Bill Of Rights
(first ten amendments) : added to the Const.
Wh. was ratified by all states before 1791.
(1) freedom of press, speech, and religion;
(2) the right to bear arms;
(3) prohibition of quartering of troops;
(4) protection against unlawful search and
(5) the right of due process of law;
(6) the right to a fair and public trial;
(7) the right to a trial by jury;
(8) prohibition of cruel punishments;
(9) protection of non enumerated rights; and
(10) reservation of powers, i.e. powers not
reserved for the fed. gvt reside in the states.
In 1793…
… the United States Congress enacts the first
Fugitive Slave Law. Providing assistance to
fugitive slaves is now a criminal offense.
One year later…
1794New York adopts a gradual emancipation
1795 : Bowdoin College is founded in Maine. It
later becomes a center for Abolitionist activity;
Gen. Oliver O. Howard (Howard University)
graduated from the college; Harriet Beecher
Stowe taught there & began to write Uncle
Tom's Cabin while there (in 1850)
Right from colonial times, a strong
environmental, cultural and economic
opposition between North and South
Right from the times of the birth of the nation,
there existed a contradiction between the
principles of the Declaration ("All men are
created equal …") and the grim fact of slavery.
The Constitution had tried to evade this
contradiction by resorting to compromise
was the issue of slavery and its extension to
the West.

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