Summary: When Washington was inaugurated, slavery was still legally recognized in all but two of the thirteen states; the Atlantic slave trade was bringing thousands of enslaved Africans across the ocean every year to spend their lives in bondage in America; the centers of slave-based agriculture in the country were the tobacco farms of Virginia and the rice plantations of low country South Carolina; fewer than 60,000 African Americans lived as "free" persons; and t ...show morehe slave population of the United States was just under 700,000.
By 1831 American slavery existed mainly in the twelve southern states and virtually not at all in the twelve northern ones; slaves had not been legally imported into the United States for nearly a quarter of a century; the heart of American slave-based agriculture consisted of the cotton plantations of the South; there were 300,000 free African Americans; and slaves numbered over two million.
African Americans in the Early Republic vividly demonstrates that African Americans who lived through these years experienced tumultuous change in their personal lives, social institutions, and intellectual outlook. By the 1830s their lives were profoundly different from the time of the Republic's beginning, just two generations earlier. In this very gripping, well-written narrative, Professor Donald Wright clears up many common misconceptions about slavery in the early years of the United States.