Final Project Historical Context Piece


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Draft for Final Project Historical Context Piece – As Submitted on Titanium

For my final project topic “The Slave Trade in North America,” my goal is to trace how the slave trade and its original policies affected the Americas, especially the North American nations like the United States, in particular. I decided to target the United States because our Founding Fathers had an interesting way in handling the politics and policies of the Atlantic Slave Trade, the practice of slavery and the work they conducted, and how we treated our slaves as human beings. For example, the United States had a weird way of treating our slaves as human beings. There were initially treated as property by their slave masters that heavily resided in the Southern States or territories until the practice was abolished after the American Civil War with the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. These slaves eventually were counted in the United States Census count as Three-Fifths of a person toward population count for eventual representation in the United States House of Representatives (Note: All states got two senators to represent them in the United States Senate).[1] So, the bulk of this final project will focus on the Atlantic Slave Trade and how it spread throughout America, especially the United States.

First, in order to achieve my goal how the Atlantic Slave Trade affected the United States with its practice and its policies, the best way to understand what the Atlantic Slave Trade is to define what the slave trade is defined by the authors of my secondary sources, Dresher and Roark. As I am reading both Drescher’s and Roark’s books respectively, both of them have different definitions toward what the Atlantic Slave Trade meant. In Drescher, he decides to focus on the meaning of the Atlantic Slave Trade from a worldwide point of view. He decides to do that because his book focuses not only in the Americas, but he decides to focus on other nations that started gaining influence and ideas from the early days of the United States.[2] In Roark, he decides to focus on the United States policy on the Atlantic Slave Trade due to the Founding Fathers influences on these issues and how it impacted representation and future legislation that went on to pass and become law signed by multiple presidents starting with President George Washington.[3] Further secondary articles I currently have just elaborated further on the two secondary books themes on the Atlantic Slave Trade in the Americas and in the World.

Currently, my primary sources show how the policies of the Atlantic Slave Trade in the United States affected normal everyday lives. In my primary source Bills of Sale, 1864, the researcher can see how a transaction of sale was conducted between one slave master to another.[4] In the five pages of The Amistad Africans, the research can see how the exposure of the practice of slavery and the slave trade were documented.[5] While these primary sources that I have currently range from 1801 until 1864, my eventual goal is to expand upon the original primary sources that I have selected and further answer the questions that I currently have in with the usage of the secondary sources I am using.

As I continue with my research on The Slave Trade in North America with the United States as my particular interest, my goal for this topic is to further expand on the question why the Atlantic slave trade gained so much traction during its time of implementation in the United States as a British colony and as a nation of its own merits. To answer this question, I would open up the debate in asking how the slave trade ended up as a proposal in the first place, what conditions led to the implementation of it, what caused politicians to have embarked on the idea of the practice of slavery, and for the United States in particular, why were slaves be considered as three-fifths of a person if some nations did not even consider them as human beings? Were the representatives of the United States just give in or fight the long battle to strike a major compromise? These are the questions I would open up in the debate research that I conduct to complete this final project.

Working Bibliography

Primary Sources (In-Progress)

Bill of Sale, 1864. August 16, 1864. National Archives, National Archives, Atlanta, Boston, New York, Philadelphia. In Bill of Sale, 1864. Accessed November 7, 2016. https://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/slave-trade.html.

Staples, S., R. Baldwin, and T. Sedwick. “The Amistad Africans.” National Archives. Accessed November 7, 2016. https://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/slave-trade.html.

U.S. v. Schooners (December 21, 1801) (National Archives, Dist. file).

Secondary Books (In-Progress)

Drescher, Seymour. Abolition: A History of Slavery and Antislavery. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Roark, James L. et. Al. The American Promise: A History of the United States. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2012.

Secondary Articles (In-Progress)

Borucki, Alex, David Eltis, and David Wheat. 2015. Atlantic History and the Slave Trade to Spanish America. The American Historical Review. 120, no. 2: 433-461.

III, et. Al. “Three-Fifths Clause.” Guide to the Constitution. Accessed November 10, 2016. http://www.heritage.org/constitution#!/articles/1/essays/6/three-fifths-clause.

Steckel, Richard, and Richard Jensen. 1985. Determinants of Slave and Crew Mortality in the Atlantic Slave Trade. NBER Working Paper Series. 1540.

Tibbles, Anthony. 2008. Facing Slavery’s Past: The Bicentenary of the Abolition of the British …read more