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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

  • Theme > Slavery and Abolition (x)
  • Tag > Civil War (x)

We found 20 items that match your search

Union Soldiers Condemn Slavery

Although the attitudes of many white Union soldiers toward slavery and emancipation ranged from indifference to outright racial hostility, others viewed the issue as central to their participation in the war. The following quotations, taken from [...]

Traitorous Scoundrels, with White Faces

Many Americans, including those in the North, were not opposed to slavery and saw no reason for the federal government to interfere with the expansion of slavery into western territories. After John Brown's attack on Harpers Ferry, people expressed [...]

A Love of Freedom and Right

Depending on where they stood on the slavery question, Americans viewed John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry as either a brilliant, if aborted, act of martyrdom for a noble cause, or a horrifying reminder of the potential for a slave uprising and an [...]

A Ride for Liberty

In 1862, American painter Eastman Johnson (1824-1906) made trips to Union encampments to witness and sketch the war's events. Throughout the war, African-American men, women, and children escaped slavery by fleeing to Union encampments.  Union [...]

Background Essay on the "Twenty Negro" Law

The so-called "Twenty Negro Law," enacted by the Confederate Congress in 1862, allowed an exemption from military service for slaveholders who owned twenty or more slaves. In effect, this allowed large plantation owners and overseers to avoid [...]

Background Essay on Civil War "Contraband"

This essay describes how runaway slaves escaped to Union camps, and how the army formed "contraband camps" to house runaway slaves and their families. 

Summary of the Emancipation Proclamation

Despite his personal opposition to slavery, when President Abraham Lincoln took office in 1861 he insisted that his constitutional duty was to keep the nation together, not to abolish slavery. He conducted the first year of the war with the goal of [...]

Night Patrols Check Slave Passes in Mississippi

This scene of white patrollers examining “Negro passes” in Mississippi illustrates the constraints placed on all African Americans in the slave South. This news illustration captured a scene during the Civil War, when slave owners in [...]

"Why Non-Slaveholders Fought for the Confederacy"

Historian Greg Downs describes the motivations that drove non-slaveholding white Southerners to fight for the Confederacy and to protect slavery.

Map of Free and Slave States in 1860

This map identifies which states and territories of the United States allowed slavery and which did not in 1860, on the eve of the Civil War. The slaveholding border states included Missouri, Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware.

Tags: Civil War
Item Type: Map