America in the 1850s

Slavery and Sectional Animosity

What would most of us today, if transplanted into the 1850s, feel about slavery and other matters of concern back then?

Given the power of social conformity, it is quite possible that many of us would view slavery as a bad thing, even a wicked one, but agree that it could not be removed by political means. The North, we might argue, had the power to make the South behave differently, but it did not have the right to do so.

Of course some of us would be out-and-out abolitionists, demanding that the peculiar institution be removed. But the more we conversed with people of that time, and learned how slavery had endured through three, almost four generations of the republic, we might be dissuaded from action.


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