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Which U.S. President signed a law banning the United States from participating in the international slave trade?

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In 1807, the U.S. Congress passed and President Thomas Jefferson signed a law "to prohibit the importation of slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States." The law also prohibited any U.S. citizen from building, fitting, equipping, loading, or otherwise preparing a slave ship. Though Jefferson was effectively born as a slave owner and only freed 10 slaves, he was an outspoken opponent of slavery, passed laws to reduce it, and proposed a law to end it. However, this proposal only applied to the children of slaves, because he thought that "to give liberty to, or rather, to abandon persons whose habits have been formed in slavery is like abandoning children." Jefferson's law would have also funded educations for these children in "tillage, arts or sciences, according to their geniuses."

DocumentationHistory of Slavery




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