The slave trade shaped American history. By 1860, nearly 90 percent of African Americans living in America were slaves. ‘1850–1865: Slavery and Civil War’ considers the importance of slavery to America in the nineteenth century. The story of slavery has many dimensions: slavery was an essential part of the southern economy and roiled national politics. The Civil War ended slavery. Full equality would take much longer. Lincoln went to war to save the Union, not to end slavery. He presided over a divided cabinet and nation. Emancipation gradually emerged as a war aim, reflecting abolitionist pressure and the escaped slaves who fled to Union camps and aided the war effort. By 1877, slavery was no more.