Introduction to American Law

It was around the year 1600 several Africans were shipped to North America as slaves. The slaves were made to do most of the works at places where they lived. Most of the slaves had ti work in mines and plantations while some of the slaves were made servants at the homes of the rich people. A majority of the people at that time thought that slavery was acceptable. Only few slaves had the right to marry, run a family, testify in a court of law and own property legally. It was the endeavor of some of the slaves to make money to free them from slavery .

The Great Compromise The bifurcation of the Congress into House of Representatives and the Senate was opposed by the colonies with smaller populations because they feared their representation would be weak, as the representation would be determined by the population. The smaller States accepted the New Jersey plan and the States with larger population rejected and what resulted was the ‘Great Compromise’. The movement for the eradication of slavery in the United States started with the ‘The Great Compromise’.

The compromise ensured that the congressional power could not be exercised before 1808. One another provision agreed to in the compromise was that the slaves are to be counted as three fifths of a person toward representation in the House. At that point of time almost 20 percent of the 2 million people in the colonies were slaves. The issue of abolition of slavery was discussed at the Constitutional Convention where the delegates from the Northern States insisted that the Congress should have the power to forbid the trade in slaves .

This move was opposed by most of the southern states. However for the purposes of representation the southern states wanted to include slaves despite the fact that the slaves were not considered, as citizens nor had the right to vote. According to the compromise reached Congress was made to hold on to the power to forbid the slave trade being exercised till the year 1808. In return the southern states accepted the proportional representation of the slaves at the agreed proportions. Other Measures to End Slavery

The following are the other measures taken for ending the slavery : •    In the year 1780, the children born to slaves in Pennsylvania after the date on which this measure was ensured, were granted freedom at the time they reach the age of 28 •    The Superior Court Massachusetts in the year 1783 held that slavery was considered to have violated the state Constitution •    The New Hampshire also passed a court ruling to end the slavery •    Vermont also passed legislation to make slavery outlawed •    Connecticut and Rhode Island passed laws to ensure a gradual emancipation

In the year 1799 New York made legislation for making slavery an outlawed proposition •    In the year 1804 New Jersey also passed legislation against slavery •    The international slave trade was outlawed in the year 1808 by using the Congressional Power Finally in the year 1865 by suitably amending the Constitution, slavery was abolished in the States which still had the existence of slavery. Former slaves were given the same rights to vote as others in the Federal and state elections.

Section 1 of the Amendment XIII to the Constitution provided that “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted shall exist within the United States or any place subject to their jurisdiction” Section 2 of the Amendment ensured that the Congress shall have the power to enforce the article relating to slavery by making appropriate legislation. The most effective method for abolition of slavery was the efforts by the various states to make legislations to make the slavery an outlawed proposition.

In the circumstances prevalent in those days any amount of persuasion or moral teachings would have helped ending the social evil. Around the year 1700 there were some religious leaders and philosophers in North America began saying that slavery was wrong and this can be considered as the least effective method to end the slavery in those days. Looking retrospectively at the measures taken for ending the slavery it appears that there could have been no other steps that would have produced the desired effect in eradicating the slavery in the United States.