Annenberg Learner Home Home FAQ View Programs Buy Videos Workshops & Courses

HomeSite MapSearch
The Coming of the Civil War
Biography of America logo
Slave and Free Soil Key Events Maps Transcript Webography

How did the legal status of slavery change in the United States between the Revolution and the Civil War?

Map of Free and Slave states highlight 1 highlight 2 highlight 3 highlight 4 highlight 5

Note: State borders on this map are present-day boundaries and do not necessarily represent borders as they were during this period.


Abolition of slavery in the North was accomplished primarily through gradual emancipation acts. Thus, slavery still existed in New York in 1827 and in New Jersey until the eve of the Civil War.

  1. Massachusetts 1780 (judicial decision)
  2. Pennsylvania in 1780 (gradual emancipation act)
  3. New Hampshire 1783 (constitutional interpretation)
  4. Rhode Island 1784 (gradual emancipation act)
  5. Connecticut 1784 and 1797 (gradual emancipation act)
  6. New York 1799 and 1817 (gradual emancipation act)
  7. New Jersey 1804 (gradual emancipation act)

The following is the roster of states admitted and their status:

  1. Vermont admitted as a free state in 1791
  2. Kentucky admitted as a slave state in 1792
  3. Tennessee as a slave state in 1796
  4. Ohio as a free state in 1803
  5. Louisiana as a slave state in 1812
  6. Indiana as a free state in 1816
  7. Mississippi as a slave state in 1817
  8. Illinois as a free state in 1818
  9. Alabama as a slave state in 1819
  10. Maine as a free state in 1820
  11. Missouri as a slave state in 1821
  12. Arkansas as a slave state in 1836
  13. Michigan as a free state in 1837
  14. Florida as a slave state in 1845
  15. Texas as a slave state in 1845
  16. Iowa as a free state in 1846
  17. Wisconsin as a free state in 1848
  18. California as a free state in 1850
  19. Minnesota as a free state in 1858
  20. Oregon as a free state in 1859
  21. Kansas as a free state in 1861

Something More


Version for Flash 4-enabled browsers



  

© Annenberg Foundation 2014. All rights reserved. Legal Policy