Slavery played a central role in the history of the United States. It existed in all the English mainland colonies and came to dominate agricultural production in the states from Maryland south. Eight of the first 12 presidents of the United States were slave owners. Debate over slavery increasingly dominated American politics, leading eventually to the American Civil War (1861-1865), which finally brought slavery to an end. After emancipation, overcoming slavery's legacy remained a crucial issue
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two hundred forty four years of blood, sweat, and tears shed by over ten million slaves.
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