Expansion and Reform (1801–1861)
The early 19th century witnessed America struggling to forge a post-revolutionary identity. Having come off success in its battle for independence, the explosive growth of cotton and slavery in the South facilitated divisive debates about the rights of all men to be free. These debates affected Connecticut slaveholders and abolitionists alike, manifesting themselves in such stories as those of Prudence Crandall and John Brown. Meanwhile, Connecticut slowly established itself as one of America’s most prominent manufacturing states, providing the country with iron, brass, rubber, textiles, clocks, gunpowder, and armaments. Facilitating the growth of these industries was a renewed focus on transportation infrastructure that brought about the construction of new roads and ambitious projects such as the Farmington and Windsor Locks canals.
James Benajmin Covey, a former slave, was only 14 years old when asked to serve in one of the most publicized trials in American history. …[more]
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Torrington Historical Society. “John Brown Birthplace,” 2016. Link.
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National Museum of American History. “John Brown’s Sharps Rifle,” 2016. Link.
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Barber, John Warner. A History of the Amistad Captives: Being a Circumstantial Account of the Capture of the Spanish Schooner Amistad, by the Africans on Board: Their Voyage, and Capture Near Long Island, New York: With Biographical Sketches of Each of the Surviving Africans; Also, an Account of the Trials Had on Their Case, Before the District and Circuit Courts of the United States, for the District of Connecticut. John W. Barber, 1840. Link.
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Normen, Elizabeth J., ed. African American Connecticut Explored. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2013.
Lawrance, Benjamin Nicholas. Amistad’s Orphans: An Atlantic Story of Children, Slavery, and Smuggling. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2014.
MacMullen, Edith Nye. In the Cause of True Education: Henry Barnard & Nineteenth-Century School Reform. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1991.
DeLuca, Richard. Post Roads & Iron Horses: Transportation in Connecticut from Colonial Times to the Age of Steam. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2011.
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