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US History – Movement in the Early Republic, 1754-1800

6. Slavery

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In this module, we explore how population movement affected slavery in the Early Republic. While many southerners sought the expansion of slavery, there were many obstacles in their way. These were: (i) the language of the Declaration of Independence; (ii) the Northwest Ordinance forbiddance of slavery in the Old Northwest; (iii) the views of many northerners; and (iv) the power of the Native American nations in the region. All of these block US expansion Southward initially, but after the invention of the cotton gin in 1793 it becomes increasingly economically viable to expand the US and slavery into the Southwest.


In this course, Professor Stephen Rockwell (St. Joseph's College, New York) explains how and why migration and immigration to and within North America caused competition and conflict over the period 1754-1800. We start by looking at immigration to North America and the 'Middle Ground' in this period. We then turn to look at the French and Indian War for control and influence of the Middle Ground. The next two modules will look at how Britain and later the US tried to control their populations and how these strategies were resisted. In the penultimate module we will discuss the unsteady nature of the early Republic. Finally, we will explore slavery and population movement in the early Republic.


Stephen J. Rockwell is a Professor of Political Science at St. Joseph's College, New York. He specialises on a number of areas including: national institutions; public administration; race, ethnicity and politics (including American Indian affairs and immigration issues); and American political development more generally. He has written a number of books including Indian Affairs and the Administrative State in the Nineteenth Century and How Big Government Won the West.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Rockwell, S. (2021, December 01). US History – Movement in the Early Republic, 1754-1800 - Slavery [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Rockwell, S. "US History – Movement in the Early Republic, 1754-1800 – Slavery." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 01 Dec 2021,

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