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Compensated emancipation was a method of ending slavery in countries where slavery was legal. This involved the person who was recognized as the owner of a slave being paid for releasing the slave. This typically was part of an act that outlawed slavery outright or established a scheme whereby slavery would eventually be phased out.

Nearly all countries that eliminated slavery did so through some form of compensated emancipation. Although most slavery in the United States was abolished after the American Civil War, rather than through compensated emancipation, it did occur in Washington, DC. On April 16, 1862, President Lincoln signed a law prohibiting slavery in the District of Columbia. Slave owners were forced to free their slaves, but were paid an average of about $300 for each slave by the government. Washington, DC was the only place in the United States where the federal government provided compensation to the District's 900-odd slaveholders, unlike emancipation in the northern states where slaveholders received compensation through various gradual emancipation schemes.

Nations and empires that ended slavery through compensated emancipation

See also


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