The new territories acquired from Britain, France, and Mexico were the subject of major political compromises.
By 1850, the newly rich cotton-growing South was threatening to secede from the Union, and tensions continued to rise.
As English custom then considered baptized Christians exempt from slavery, colonists treated these Africans as indentured servants, and they joined about 1,000 English indentured servants already in the colony.
The Africans were freed after a prescribed period and given the use of land and supplies by their former masters.
The United States became polarized over the issue of slavery, represented by the slave and free states, in effect divided by the Mason–Dixon line which delineated (free) Pennsylvania from (slave) Maryland and Delaware.