Abolition proves difficult

Why was abolition of slavery so hard to achieve?

1. The North didn’t care as much as you think
they did.

Northern citizens who were actually
abolitionists were few and far bewteen. In fact, even after the
publishing of Uncle Tom’s Cabin less then 1% of Northerners would
have considered themselves actual aboltionists. The sad reality was
that the only reason there were few slaves in the North was beacuse
there was not a need for them and there was little economic
advantage to owning them.

It should also be noted that many in the North
made a profit as a result of slavery. It was Northern ships that
carried the cotton grown by slaves and it was Northern ships that
brought the slaves to America in the first place.

2. Passage of the Fugitive Slave

In order to avoid a possible Civil
War, the Northern states agreed to pass a national Fugitive Slave
law. This made it illegal to help or shelter a runaway slave. While
many in the North ignored the law, it shows that the North was not
really serious about abolition.

3. Passage of Slave Codes

Laws like the Slave Codes which
forbade the teaching of reading and writing to slaves. This
prevented slaves from organizing and protesting.

4. Slaves were protected by the 5th

To take away the slave meant to take
away the private property of southerners. Provate property is
protected by the 5th Amendemnt of the Constitution and this was a law
most were unwilling to break. No matter how absurd that seems to you
today, it was true in 1850.

4. The north was unwilling to fight

There was little desire to push the
issue as it seemed it might lead to war.