Slavery and the Making of America

PBS
PBS
Slavery and the Making of America
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4 episodes in this series

Episode 1 The Downward Spiral
In the 1620s, there were no limitations imposed on slaves. But by the early 18th century, the expanding slave trade caused many colonies to adopt strict "black codes," transforming the…
Episode 2 Liberty in the Air
From the 1740s to the 1830s, slavery continued to support economic development, but the Revolutionary War revealed the contradictions of a nation seeking independence while denying freedom to its black…
Episode 3 Seeds of Destruction
As the North adopted laws to abolish slavery, the South saw its greatest expansion of slavery. The abolitionist movement began to gather strength, contributing to the widening fissure and imminent…
Episode 4 The Challenge of Freedom
The complexities of the Civil War and Reconstruction are chronicled through the experience of slave Robert Smalls. The rise of militant groups and new segregation laws show that slavery's eradication…

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The Downward Spiral
In the 1620s, there were no limitations imposed on slaves. But by the early 18th century, the expanding slave trade caused many colonies to adopt strict "black codes," transforming the social system into one of legal racial oppression.
Liberty in the Air
From the 1740s to the 1830s, slavery continued to support economic development, but the Revolutionary War revealed the contradictions of a nation seeking independence while denying freedom to its black citizens.
The Challenge of Freedom
The complexities of the Civil War and Reconstruction are chronicled through the experience of slave Robert Smalls. The rise of militant groups and new segregation laws show that slavery's eradication had not ended black oppression.
Seeds of Destruction
As the North adopted laws to abolish slavery, the South saw its greatest expansion of slavery. The abolitionist movement began to gather strength, contributing to the widening fissure and imminent break-up of the nation.
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