New Hampshire and Slavery

Slavery in New Hampshire

            The New Hampshire Constitution stated that  “all men are born equal and independent,” but that clause did not mean that slavery was not present in New Hampshire during the 1780s. In fact, in 1714, New Hampshire legislators passed an act that regulated the conduct of slaves, and four years later, they adopted another act to regulate the powers and responsibilities of the slave master. Slavery was not abolished until the Civil War, even though many citizens thought the constitution made it clear that slavery had ended during the 1780s.

The economic impact of slavery was insignificant in New Hampshire when compared to the economies of slavery-dependent Southern states. In 1786, the number of slaves was counted at just forty-six, most likely belonging to rich slave owners in large cities. Indentured servants were more common in New Hampshire than slaves. New Hampshire is a small state, and although it had farmland, the farms were relatively small as well, unlike the large plantations in the South. Keeping a large number of slaves was not necessary to farm the small farms, and it was also expensive to house and feed slaves. In addition, New Hampshire had strong fishing, ship-building, and trading economy, which did not require the work of slaves. Some slaves, however, worked on the docks in the larger ports.





“Slavery in New Hampshire.” Slavery in New Hampshire. N.p., 2003. Web. 11 Nov. 2012. <>.

“History Curriculum Homeschool | Heritage History Presents by.” History Curriculum Homeschool | Heritage History Presents by. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2012. <>.


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