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ABOLITIONISM

Buta Maria Cernat Diana


05.02.2013

Abolitionism was a movement to end slavery, whether formal or informal. The term has become adopted by those seeking the abolishment of any perceived injustice to a group of people. There are abolition movements to end human trafficking, abortion, children used in war, and many others. After the American Revolutionary War established the United States, northern states, beginning with Pennsylvania in 1780, passed legislation during the next two decades abolishing slavery, sometimes by gradual emancipation.

During the following decades, the abolitionist movement grew in northern states, and Congress limited the expansion of slavery in new states admitted to the union. Slavery in the United States was abolished in 1865, after the American Civil War, with the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

During the Independence Wars (18101822), slavery was abolished in most of Latin America. It continued in the region until 1873 in Puerto Rico, 1886 in Cuba, and 1888 in Brazil by the "Golden Law."

Slavery was abolished in Uruguay during the Guerra Grande, by both the government of Fructuoso Rivera and the government in exile of Manuel Oribe. With slaves escaping to New York and New England, legislation for gradual emancipation was passed in Upper Canada(1793) and Lower Canada (1803). In practice, some slavery continued until abolished in the entire British Empire in the 1830s.

The historian James M. McPherson defines an abolitionist "as one who before the Civil War had agitated for the immediate, unconditional, and total abolition of slavery in the United States." Antislavery movements in the North gained momentum in the 1830s and 1840s, a period of rapid transformation of Northern society that inspired a social and political reformism.

Antislavery, like many other reform movements of the period, was influenced by the legacy of the Second Great Awakening. While the reform spirit of the period was expressed by a variety of movements with oftenconflicting political goals, most reform movements shared a common feature in their emphasis on the Great Awakening principle of transforming the human personality through discipline, order, and restraint.

"Abolitionist" had several meanings at the time. The followers of William Lloyd Garrison, including Wendell Phillips and Frederick Douglass, demanded the "immediate abolition of slavery", hence the name. "Antislavery men", like John Quincy Adams, did what they could to limit slavery and end it where possible, but were not part of any abolitionist group.

John Quincy Adams

William Lloyd Garrison, a prominent abolitionist, was motivated by a belief in the growth of democracy. Garrison once publicly burned a copy of the U.S. Constitution and called it "a covenant with death and an agreement with hell".
William Loyd Garrison

Today, child and adult slavery and forced labour are illegal in most countries, as well as being against international law, but a high rate of human trafficking for labor and for sexual bondage continues, believed to affect millions of adults and children.