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Slavery and the Making of AmericaDramatic re-enactment of slaves being transported on a boat
Time and Place Slave Memories Resources The Slave Experience

Time and Place return to introduction
1619 1641 1662 1676 1694 1705 1712 1731 1739 1773 1776 1781 1787 1788 1793 1803 1817
1820 1829 1831 1837 1842 1848 1850 1857 1860 1862 1863 1865 1866 1867 1869 1871 1874
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Pro-Slavery Advances
1850
The Compromise of 1850 admits California to the Union as a free state, allows the slave states of New Mexico and Utah to be decided by popular sovereignty, and bans slave trade in D.C.

1850
A second fugitive slave law, enforced by the federal government, strengthens the rights of slave owners and threatens the rights of free blacks. Many states pass personal liberty laws in response.

1850
Maryland removes restraints on interstate slave trade.

1850
Virginia demands that emancipated slaves leave the state within a year and forbids the legislature from freeing any slave.

1851
Sojourner Truth gives her famous "Ain't I a Woman" speech at the Women's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio.

1852
Harriet Beecher Stowe's influential abolitionist novel UNCLE TOM'S CABIN is published.

1853
William Wells Brown's CLOTEL is published in London. It is the first published novel by an African-American.

1854
The Kansas-Nebraska Act creates the territories of Kansas and Nebraska and allows popular sovereignty to decide the slave status of each. It also repeals the anti-slavery clause of the Missouri Compromise.

1854-1855
Connecticut, Maine, and Mississippi pass personal liberty laws. Massachusetts and Rhode Island renew personal liberty laws first enacted in the 1840s.

1855
Georgia and Tennessee remove restraints on interstate slave trade.

1855
John Mercer Langston is elected to political office in Ohio, making him the first black to serve in the U.S. government.

1856
The Republican Party is formed out of the Free Soil Party.

1856
Proslavery groups in Kansas attack the free soil town of Lawrence. Radical abolitionist John Brown and his followers strike in retaliation, initiating a wave of violence and destruction, known as "Bleeding Kansas."

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