5.1.1. The Midwest, 1780-1820: Black Codes in the Early Midwest


Black codes in the early Midwest:

  • Migrants from the Upper South, who dominated Midwest politics until the 1830s, opposed slavery but also opposed black social and economic equality in their new states.  The lower Midwestern states (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois) enacted harsh “black laws.”  
  Ohio       Indiana Illinois
 1800-1810Statehood, 1803
1804:
  Blacks may not enter Ohio unless they provide proof of freedom, register and give $500 security bond 
 1803-16:  Indenture system - former slaves may be made indentured servants for period to be agreed upon with master; slaves' children may be indentured to age 28 (women), 30 (men)

1808-10:  Territorial governor William Henry Harrison floats the idea of reinstituting slavery; effort fails       
 Part of Indiana Territory
 1810-1825      Statehood, 1816





Statehood, 1818
Indenture system modified:   long-term indentures prohibited, but 1-year indentures allowed; children of indentured blacks must serve until age 18 (women), 21 (men); all children born in future to slaves in Illinois are free

1819:  Blacks are prohibited from entering Illinois (unless in transit to another state)

1822-24:  Proposal to amend constitution to permit slavery fails narrowly in referendum

















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