Creating the Declaration of Independence


Influenced by the European Enlightenment, many Americans, including Thomas Jefferson, James Otis, and James Madison, did not believe that slavery could be abolished outright, but they planned to cause it to eventually wither away. The first step would be to end the importation of slaves. This step would be followed by a prohibition of the slave trade‚Äôs expansion into the Western territories and provisions for easier manumission (emancipation) of slaves, and for the colonization of freed slaves beyond the borders of the United States. Where did this idea come from? »

Rough Draft of the Declaration of Independence, Slavery section

determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce: determining to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold: and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact