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Slavery started in our country when the first settlers came to North America.  It ended when the 13th amendment was added to the Constitution in 1865. The very first settlers had slaves with them.  As more and more people came to the Americas, more slaves also arrived.  Many people began to farm, especially in the South. Since farming was such a major job in the South, the large farm owners (plantation owners) wanted a cheap source of labor.  The demand for slaves really increased significantly with the invention of the cotton gin. With this device, cotton could be grown anywhere in the South.  Cotton was in high demand in Europe, so more slaves were being used in the South.

Eventually, people began to speak against having slavery in our country.  This became a big issue in the mid-1800s.  As the country began to divide over the slavery issue, the United States moved closer to war. While slavery wasn’t the only cause of the Civil War, it was one of the most important causes. When the Civil War ended with a Union victory, the 13th amendment was added to the Constitution. This amendment banned slavery in 1865.

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