Slavery in New York

“All men are created equal” …or are they?

Although slavery was practiced in New York until it was officially abolished in 1827, it was not practiced as heavily as it was in the southern states. The main concentration of slavery was in the city of Manhattan. Once the nation turned into the United States, the citizens of this newfound country began gradually changing their thoughts on slavery, in particular the northern states. “Even white people who did not believe that blacks were their equals began to feel that the core principles of the American Revolution – freedom, equality, individual rights – were at odds with slavery. The change in thinking came very gradually. White people did not necessarily see a con-tradiction when the New York Manumission Society worked to protect the legal rights of black people, even as many of its members continued to own slaves.”


New York Manumission Society

manumission- n the act of freeing or the state of being freed from slavery,servitude, etc

Founded in 1785, these “wealthy and influential white citizens” protested “the widespread practice of kidnapping black New Yorkers (both slave and free) and selling them as slaves elsewhere.” This group, most primarily influential, pushed for the emancipation of slaves in New York. Some of its founding members included Alexander Hamilton and Governor John Jay.



 Will it ever end?

As far as slavery goes in New York, it was not given as much importance as it was in the South and the southern states. However, the citizens of New York did their best efforts to put an end to it. Despite its disappearance being slow and quite gradual, slavery did come to an end in 1827 with the help of the New York Manumission Society and its strong supporters. In the end, not everyone supported this decision, but it still came to be. It took  over a few decades, but slavery was officially banned with the help of many people, especially those  strongly involved and in support of the New York Manumission Society.


colonial-era newspaper advertisement page with actual runaway slave ads


Works Cited

“Alexander Hamilton and the Creation of the United States.” The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, 2009. Web. 13 Nov. 2012.

Harper, Douglas. “Emancipation in New York.” Slavery in the North. N.p., 2003. Web. 13 Nov. 2012.

“Learn about AFS History.” The New York Manumission Society. New-York Historical Society, n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2012.

“manumission.” Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins Publishers. 13 Nov. 2012.

“Queens Historical Society.” Queens Historical Society. Queens Historical Society, n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2012.

“Slavery in New York: Fact Sheet.” Slavery in New York. New York Historical Society, n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2012.

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