Abe Lincoln in Illinois Historical Context

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The Abolitionist Movement

Slavery existed in the United States from the earliest colonial days, with settlers first using captured Native Americans to do the heavy labor of cultivating and then importing poor people from Europe to work as indentured servants, a position almost equal to slavery. In the 1680s, southern landowners began importing slaves from Africa. From colonial times, laws defined black slaves and their children as property, to be owned for life. The invention of the cotton gin in 1793 made it easier to process cotton and increased the demand for cotton. In the South, which had the soil and climate for cotton production, slavery became an institution and a necessary part of the economy.

The Abolitionist Movement, which fought to abolish slavery, is generally considered to have started in 1831, when the newspaper The Liberator began publication in Boston. A few years later, in 1833, which is the year...

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This section contains 1,016 words
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Abe Lincoln in Illinois from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.