Understanding New York's 1730 Slave Code
Suggested Teaching Instructions
White New Yorkers were divided over slavery even after the close of the American Revolution. They remained divided over the issue of equal rights for blacks far longer. While gradual emancipation proceeded according to state laws passed in 1799 and 1817, other laws and the 1821 state constitution barred large numbers of free blacks from voting. New York's black abolitionists had many allies in the fight to end slavery nationwide, but found fewer supporters in their quest for equal voting rights in their own state. Following the Civil War, many white New Yorkers resisted the national movement for a constitutional amendment guaranteeing equal voting rights for all men. As late as 1869, a majority of the state's voters cast ballots in favor of retaining property qualifications that kept New York's polls closed to many blacks. African American men did not obtain equal voting rights in New York until ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870.