Annabel Lee Historical Context

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In 1849 America was still expanding westward, and the addition of each new state stirred anew the debate between supporters of slavery and the reformers (referred to as "Abolitionists") who wanted to abolish slavery. The slave trade had developed as the country was developing during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Many of the settlers of the original thirteen colonies brought "indentured servants" from Europe. These were usually citizens of the lower classes who were willing to sell their freedom for a time, usually seven years, in exchange for the price of passage to the new continent. From that practice, the practice of permanently keeping people with different physical characteristics seemed a natural progression. Some colonies, most notably Virginia, dabbled in keeping American Indians for slave labor, but, possibly because of the bloody confrontations that had served to take the country from the Indians, the European property owners never felt...

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This section contains 860 words
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Buy the Annabel Lee Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
Annabel Lee from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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