Slavery existed in North America almost from the beginning of British colonization, but by the late 1700’s it was largely confined to the South. The historian Peter Kolchin argues in his book American Slavery: 1619-1877 (1993) that this condition was a result of the Southern states’ agricultural economy; the slave as farm laborer was a far more intrinsic part of the Southern economy than of the industrial and manufacturing economies of the North. As one part of the nation grew to rely more on slaves while another region prospered without forced servitude, the issue of slavery became an increasingly heated national debate. The slave trade was outlawed in 1808, and by the 1840’s the abolitionist movement was gaining strength. Significantly, this movement coincided with a surge in American thinking and writing, encompassing the American Transcendentalist movement of the 1830’s and 1840’s and with the first publication of the American novelists Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville. As America began to establish its own identity through original literature and ideas, the question of whether or not it was to be a nation of slaveholders became more pressing.