A People's History of the United States Questions and Answers
by Howard Zinn

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In Chapter 9, “Slavery Without Submission,” what actions did the U.S. government take to support slavery? 

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The U.S. made many concessions to slave holders to keep the Union together. For example, the U.S. army put down a slave revolt in New Orleans in 1811. Slave rebellions were seen as threatening to the social order and property. Later, John Brown, who raided the National Arsenal in Harper's Ferry, Virginia, with the hopes of starting a widespread slave revolt, was executed by the state of Virginia with the blessing of the federal government. 

In addition, the government made political concessions to slave owners to keep the Union together. For example, the Compromise of 1850 included a stronger Fugitive Slave Law in return for allowing the state of California admission into the Union as a free state. The law was hated among abolitionists, as it facilitated the recapture of slaves in the north. The Supreme Court also played a role in upholding slavery. In the 1857 case Dred Scott v. Sandford , the Supreme Court held that slaves could not sue for their freedom because they were...

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