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The First Emancipation: The Abolition of Slavery in the North Paperback – June, 1967


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press (June 1967)
  • ISBN-10: 0226983323
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226983325
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,316,187 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Glenn M. Harden on November 18, 2000
Format: Textbook Binding
In this readable study, Arthur Zilversmit tells the story of the abolition of slavery in the North. Slavery in the North is a generally overlooked and forgotten chapter in the history of American slavery, and Zilversmit's work is one of the few on its abolition. He contends that slavery was profitable in the North, and in some areas, entrenched. As such, abolition met with serious opposition, especially in New York and New Jersey. Moreover, Zilversmit argues that Revolutionary ideology significantly aided the work of gradual abolition. He also notes how far some of the northern abolitionists had come toward advocating the essential equality of the races. Such enlightened views are interesting in light of the abuse abolitionists would receive in the North in the antebellum years. I recommend this work to all students (and teachers) of American slavery and abolition. If you are unable to find a copy of this book, you might want to try Joanne Pope Melish's DISOWNING SLAVERY: GRADUAL EMANCIPATION AND "RACE" IN NEW ENGLAND, published in 1998.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sean Mulligan on April 12, 2014
Format: Paperback
It is usually forgotten that at the time of the American Revolution, all of the thirteen colonies/states, from the South to New England, had slavery. In the Norther Colonies/States slaves worked on farms as personal servants and at various trades. The Northern States had fewer slaves then in the South, but slavery was still profitable and slave owners fiercely resisted any attacks on their right to slave property. The book notes how the British government supported slavery and rejected attempts by the various colonial governments to the slave trade, since the trade brought the British government so much revenue.

Abolitionists started by convincing most Quakers to abandon slave holding and later Quakers became the strongest supporters of abolishing slavery. The American Revolution greatly encouraged the Abolitionist Movement. Many Americans in both the North and the South became uncomfortable with the contradiction between fighting for Liberty and keeping men and women in bondage. The movement had the most success in the Northern states, since they had the fewest slaves.

I was surprised by how long many Northern states kept slaves and how much resistance their was to emancipation there, even if those states had relatively few slaves. Northern slave owners were resistance to any attempt to take away their property and demanded compensation for their losses. Most Northern States had to adopt a system of gradual emancipation to satisfy those slave owners and as a result, several Northern states, such as New Jersey and New York, still had some slaves well into the 19th Century. After slavery was abolished, Blacks and their white supporters still had to fight against racial discrimination.
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