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The Autobiography of Harriet Jacobs

             history lies in the time of slavery. The worst examples of humanity can be seen during this time period. However, in the midst of that darkness, one woman chose to shine a light on the cruelties of slavery. Harriet Jacobs, who is credited as the first woman black woman to write an autobiography, told her story of hardship and freedom in hopes it could change the world. Today her book provides a look into slavery that one would not find in history books. Jacob's first edition of her book was written in 1857 by herself and was later published in 1861. During the 1800s slavery was at its peak. The Missouri Compromise of 1820 takes place. This act traded Maine as a free slave state so that Missouri would be allowed to own slaves which gave slaves in the selected northern states their freedom. In 1821, New York gave freed slaves the right to vote, and 6 years later declared slavery illegal. The Fugitive Slave Law passed in 1850 stating any person who makes attempt to harbor or conceal any fugitive from service or labor, escaping from one state into another, so as to prevent his discovery and arrest, after knowledge that he was such as fugitive, would be subjected to a fine not exceeding 1,000 dollars. The law made it to where slaves were able to be freed in the north, but if their master had distributed a wanted flyer, they cannot receive any comfort or help from anyone or they are due to a large fine or imprisonment. In that same year, slave trade was abolished in Washington, D.C. In 1854, The Kansas-Nebraska Act began a rival between the anti- and pro- slavery states on border line territories. This act came into place when settlers wanted to move out into what is now known today as Nebraska, but would not able to legally hold land. This act also gave the power to each territory to decide the issue of slavery based on popular sovereignty. Eventually, Kansas and Nebraska became slave states even though the Missouri Compromise had prevented this from happening since 1820.

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