A Northern Emancipation Question (Essay Three)

This is the third essay in a series investigating whether there were large numbers of slaves from Northern states sold to people in Southern states instead of being set free. The last essay was a review of the 1790 and 1800 censuses. In this one we will look at the 1820 census.

The slave population in the North reduced from 36,215 in 1800 to 19,108 in 1820. The majority were in New York. The free colored population grew from 47,153 to 99,281 over the same period. Combined, the black population in the North grew by 35,021 or by 42% from 1800 to 1820. The white population grew by 94% or by 2.4 million over the same 20 years. Some of the white growth is immigration. In the South, the white growth rate was 66%. There was much less immigration, but you had the introduction of Louisiana with the associated populations. Subtract Louisiana and the white growth rate is 62% in the South. As such, it is reasonable to say that the growth rate without immigration is around 60%.

Using an expected growth rate of 50% for the black population in the North there would have been 125,000 in population and the actual number was 118,000. This difference of 7,000 is most likely explained by those people going to slave states. Some could have freely gone for more opportunity, or they were sold South before their emancipation. It is looking like there were not large numbers of slaves in the North sold prior to emancipation.

There is something very interesting in the South though. The free black population grew by 77,000 or by 136%. If you apply the same 50% normal growth rate to the 1800 starting point and compare it to the actual number of free blacks, the difference is 49,000. Subtract the 10,000 Louisiana free colored population and the result is 39,000 more than what the 50% growth rate produces. Apply the same method in the North and the result is 24,000. It appears the South freed more slaves than the North.

There were many more slaves in the South, but I suspect most people would be surprised that slaves were being freed in the South in larger numbers than in the North.



Career consultant turned substitute teacher and writer. I enjoy the outdoors and poker. www.trudgetotruth.com

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