Analyze two specific events from 1770-1865 that explain the shift in mindset from pro-slavery to anti-slavery. Use specific examples to argue how the mindset was shifting. What events took place where Americans began to question the idea of slavery and its inhumane nature? What actions took place to show American attitude shifting?

Two specific events that occurred between 1770 and 1865 were the abolition of the slave trade and the passage of the Missouri Compromise. Making it illegal to import additional enslaved persons into the United States acknowledged that many Americans opposed the trafficking of human beings. Creating a compromise over the legality of slavery in newly admitted states signaled a move toward prohibiting slavery nationwide.

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Among the numerous steps preceding the Emancipation Declaration, the 1807 federal law abolishing the importation of enslaved people and the 1820 Missouri Compromise that limited slavery in newly admitted states were significant milestones.

In 1807, the US Congress passed a law making it a federal crime to import enslaved people into the country. The law became effective January 1 of the following year. The US action followed the 1807 enactment of a similar law in Great Britain. The US law also expanded on a 1794 law that had made it illegal for American ships to participate in the international slave trade. The new law both identified specific aspects of the trade that were criminal and created specific penalties for each element. The passage of this comprehensive law indicated shifting opinion against slavery. However, it did not offer federal protection to Africans who were illegally imported. Their legal fates were left in the hands of the individual states.

The Missouri Compromise of 1820 was an agreement in the U. S. Congress regarding the number and location of states in the Union in which slavery would be legal or illegal. Its name is associated with the process of Missouri becoming a state. In applying for admission as a state, the territorial government and statehood sponsors wanted to allow slavery. Because many Americans opposed this, the compromise reached also allowed Maine’s admission as a state in which slavery was legally prohibited. Furthermore, in every future state north of 36º 30´ latitude within the Louisiana Territory, slavery would be illegal. This event is important because it represented the ongoing efforts at equilibrium between pro-slavery forces and abolitionists. It postponed a decision about implementing a national prohibition of slavery.

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