Background Information on Slavery in the U.S.
These tables and statistics give basic facts about the growth and spread of slavery in the United States and some tables of statistics about slave populations.
1) Total Slave Population, United States
Year Total Slaves
2) Slave population in the United States, unlike almost the entire rest of the hemisphere grew by reproduction.
11 million slaves brought to Western Hemisphere
roughly 450,000 to United States
3) American plantations relatively small
Most slaveowners (72% in 1860) owned 1-9 slaves
Most slaves (3/4) on plantations with fewer than 50 slaves
4) Second Middle Passage drives 1 million slaves to “West”
1790-1860, one million slaves moved from coast to Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas, Missouri
U.S. government bans the importation of slaves in 1808
United States expands into the Louisiana Territory
Cotton cultivation expands after the invention of the cotton gin in 1793
5) Slavery largely but not exclusively Southern
Most northern slaves in New York and New Jersey
Emancipation in North started in the 1770s
Gradual emancipation laws in the early 1800s
Most northern slaves freed by the 1840s
A few northern slaves not free until 1865
Creator | American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning
Rights | Copyright American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Item Type | Article/Essay
Cite This document | American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning, “Background Information on Slavery in the U.S.,” HERB: Resources for Teachers, accessed July 4, 2020, https://herb.ashp.cuny.edu/items/show/533.