The South’s Peculiar Institution: Slavery in the United States

When the US Constitution was ratified in 1788, free persons of colour were allowed to vote in 5 of the 13 states, but the regulation of the slave trade was protected by the Constitution until 1808. Therefore, Southern states were free to import large amounts of slaves from Africa.

Whilst it was mostly the Southern states importing the slaves, Northern states also benefitted from the booming cotton industry that was powered by the substantial slave workforce. From its beginnings in the colonies to its numerous uprisings and eventual abolition in 1865, slavery, referred to euphemistically in the US as ‘our peculiar institution’, is outlined in more depth in this video.

Lee is a freelance writer with a keen interest in history and science.