The abolition of slavery began in 1688 when German and Dutch Quakers published a pamphlet denouncing the practice. For more than 150 years, the abolition movement continued to evolve and by the 1830s, both African-Americans and whites were fighting to end the institution of slavery in the United States. Prominent abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison said early in the 1830s, "I will not equivocate...and I will be heard." Garrison's words would set the tone for the transforming abolition movement, which would continue to build steam up until the Civil War.
- The National Negro Convention is held in Philadelphia. The Convention brings together forty freed African-Americans. Its aim is to protect the rights of freed African-Americans in the United States.
- Race riots in Cincinnati along with strong enforcement of Ohio's "Black Laws" encourages African-Americans to migrate to Canada, establishing free colonies. These colonies become important on the Underground Railroad.
- William Lloyd Garrison publishes The Liberator, one of the most widely read antislavery publications.
- The Nat Turner Rebellion takes places in Southampton County Virginia.
- Maria Stewart, a prominent political activist begins her career as an abolitionist and feminist.
- The Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society is formed.
- Garrison establishes the American Antislavery Society in Philadelphia. Within five years, the organization has more than 1300 chapters and an estimated 250,000 members.
- Great Britain abolishes slavery in its colonies.
- Women organize societies such as the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society. Women such as Lucretia Mott, Grace Bustill Douglass are members.
- Antislavery petitions flood the offices of congressman. These petitions are part of a campaign launched by abolitionists.
- Various abolitionist organizations rally together and sue in the Commonwealth v. Aves case in which a slave traveled to Boston with her mistress from New Orleans.
- Sisters Angelina and Sarah Grimke begin their careers as abolitionists.
- Presbyterian minister and abolitionist Elijah Parish Lovejoy establishes the antislavery publication, Alton Observer
- The Vigilance Committee is established by abolitionist and businessman Robert Purvis to help runaway slaves.
- The Antislavery Convention of American Women gathers for the first time. This interracial association was comprised of various women's antislavery groups.
- The Institute for Colored Youth is founded. It is one of the earliest black colleges in the United States and is renamed Cheyney University.
- Angelina Grimke addresses the Massachusetts legislature concerning not only the abolition movement, but also the rights of women.
- Philadelphia Hall is burned by an anti-abolitionist mob.
- Frederick Douglas runs away from slavery and travels to New York City.
- The Liberty Party is formed by abolitionists to use political action to fight against slavery.
- Abolitionist Lewis Tappan forms the Friend of Amistad Africans Committee to fight for the rights of Africans involved in the Amistad case.