New attitudes were seen towards the topic of slavery because of the Revolutionary War, especially in the North. It inspired a spirit of liberty and an appreciation of the work of the work of all black soldiers (slaves). Some of the Northern legislatures adopted laws during the late 1700s that provided for the end of slavery immediately or gradually. The census of 1790 revealed that the nation had about 59,000 free blacks and this included 27,000 from the North.

After the Revolutionary War, a lot of the free blacks were able to find jobs at the tobacco plants, the textile mills, and other factories. Some found even better jobs, some became editors and others became merchants. One of the best editors were Samuel Cornish and John Russwurm, who helped start the first black newspaper in 1827. A lot of the whites treated the free blacks as if they were inferior to them. They were not allowed in certain places such as hotels, theaters, restaurants, and other public places.

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Other disadvantages that they had even though they were free was that they were not allowed to vote, and the children had to attend separate schools from the whites. Also colleges and universities with the exception of Bowdoin and Oberlin, did not accept any blacks. In the North as well as in the South inside the churches unless they were all blacks attending it, the blacks had to sit apart from the whites. In 1816, Richard Allen who was a black Philadelphia minister helped to establish the first black denomination in the country.

The continuous increase of free blacks in the North as well as in the South was beginning to alarm the whites, and so they began stating some more constrictions with the activities the blacks had. In most of New England the blacks could not visit any town without a pass. By 1860, the nation had about 490,000 free blacks, and even though they were free they received so much discrimination that they thought they were only a little better off than the slaves.

Most of the abolitionist leaders attacked slavery in their writings and their public speeches. William Lloyd Garrison which was one of their leaders established an antislavery newspaper, called The Liberator, in 1831. Douglass, who was the most influential black leader published an abolitionists newspaper called The North Star in 1847. A tension that began in the South in 1859, led to raids which were said to begin or lead to fights between the North and the South.