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Patrick Sowle, "The North Carolina Manumission Society, 1816-1834" (1965)


Patrick Sowle, "The North Carolina Manumission Society, 1816-1834" (1965)


The Manumission Society of North Carolina was founded by slavery opponents, mostly Quakers. Its members formed an alliance to distribute written and verbal information about the evils of the institution and its effects on the state's economy and social wellbeing. Chief among its goals was the emancipation of slaves and eradication of the institute of slavery.

The Society utilized a variety of tactics to reach its goals. A 1777 law banned manumission, so the Society circimvented the ban by buying slaves and holding them in trust, essentially freeing them. However, funds for this indeavor eventually ran out.

Although all members of the Society agreed that freed slaves ought to be educated, the enterprise came to end over a schism about colonization. Ironically, the expansion of the west led for a need for more slaves, which drove up the price of slaves, and made antislavery unpopular in favor of profits. Disheartend, many society members moved to free states as more and more proslavery legislation was enacted. In the end, Sowle contended that the Society accomplished little. 



Patrick Sowle


Sowle, Patrick. "The North Carolina Manumission Society, 1816-1834," The North Carolina Historical Review 42, no. 1 (January 1965): 47-69.






North Carolina

Original Format

Journal Article


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Patrick Sowle, Patrick Sowle, "The North Carolina Manumission Society, 1816-1834" (1965), Civil War Era NC, accessed March 18, 2018,