The first six states to secede held the greatest number of slaves in the South.
Shortly after, the Civil War began when Confederate forces attacked the US Army's Fort Sumter. Due to Union measures such as the Confiscation Acts and Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, the war effectively ended slavery, even before ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment in December 1865 formally ended the legal institution throughout the United States.
Those states attempted to extend slavery into the new Western territories to keep their share of political power in the nation; Southern leaders also wanted to annex Cuba to be used as a slave territory.
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More than one million slaves were sold from the Upper South, which had a surplus of labor, and taken to the Deep South in a forced migration, splitting up many families.
New communities of African-American culture were developed in the Deep South, and the total slave population in the South eventually reached 4 million before liberation.
By 1850, the newly rich cotton-growing South was threatening to secede from the Union, and tensions continued to rise.
Many white Southern Christians, including church ministers, attempted to justify their support for slavery as modified by Christian paternalism.
Slavery had been practiced in British America from early colonial days, and was legal in all Thirteen Colonies at the time of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
By the time of the American Revolution (1775–1783), the status of slave had been institutionalized as a racial caste associated with African ancestry.
Most laborers came from Britain as indentured servants, having signed contracts of indenture to pay with work for their passage, their upkeep and training, usually on a farm. These indentured servants were young people who intended to become permanent residents.
In some cases, convicted criminals were transported to the colonies as indentured servants, rather than being imprisoned.
During and immediately following the Revolutionary War, abolitionist laws were passed in most Northern states and a movement developed to abolish slavery.