Pennsylvania 1780 Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery

1780 Act

 

In 1780 the State of Pennsylvania passed the first law in the Western hemisphere for the gradual abolition of slavery.  All slaves prior to the passage of the Act remained slaves.  (An Act passed in 1847 freed the few survivors of this group.)  However, all children of these slaves were to be freed when they attained the age of 28, and no new slaves who would reside in Pennsylvania for  longer than six months could be brought into the State without being granted their freedom after the six month period.  Legislation passed in 1788 cut off loopholes such as masters selling pregnant slaves out of state.  It wasn’t a perfect Act, but it succeeded in eliminating slavery in the Keystone State.  Would that such legislation had resolved the question of slavery peacefully throughout the country!  Here is the text of the Act: (more…)

Published in: on January 3, 2013 at 5:30 am  Comments (7)  
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