American Slavery and Its Impact

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Duration 01:10:24

College of the Holy Cross

Edward O’Donnell is a professor of history at College of the Holy Cross. He is the author of several books, including Henry George and the Crisis of Inequality: Progress and Poverty in the Gilded Age. He frequently contributes op-eds to publications like Newsweek and The Huffington Post, and has been featured on PBS, the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, and C-SPAN. O’Donnell also has curated several major museum exhibits on American history and appeared in several historical documentaries. He currently hosts a history podcast, “In the Past Lane.”




In the late 18th century, the founders established the United States as a republic of liberty. But that same nation was the largest slaveholding society in the world. And slavery would only grow in size and importance in the 19th century. As it did, however, a small but dedicated abolitionist movement emerged, intent upon ending slavery and transforming the U.S. into a true republic of liberty. The ensuing struggle lasted decades, ending only when the Civil War brought about the abolition of slavery. But ending human bondage presented new challenges about race, equality, and justice that have never been fully resolved and which continue to impact American society up to the present.



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Maggie Olmstead


Thank you for fleshing out my understanding of the causes and continuing effects of slavery in the United States. I was aware of many of the points that were brought up, but I didn’t have the numbers and the nuance to back up my knowledge. Well done. I look forward to future lectures from Dr. O’Donnell.

1 year ago
Anne Freyer

Excellent, articulate History Lesson

This presentation kept my attention the entire time. I learned a great deal from information I did not know or had considered put in an easy to be entreated timeline and explanation. Thank you very much for your care and time in presenting a truly relevant topic.

1 year ago
barbara ann.fields

Knowledgeable and Informative

Thank you for your references to Black contemporary authors to get further understanding on the most encompassing, complicated and long ranging implications of slavery. Truer facts were never stated that the results of that inhumane practice are still with us today and there are those who would like it to return. There are millions of descendants of slaves who have to fight back on a daily bases to keep it from returning to it’s former place of prominence in our country.

12 months ago
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