One may wonder why Mark Twain would choose to write an antislavery novel some twenty years after the end of the Civil War. By the early 1880s, Reconstruction, the plan to put the United States back together after the war and integrate freed slaves into society, had hit some shaky ground, although it had not yet failed outright (that wouldnt occur until 1887, three years after the publication of Huck Finn). Still, as Twain worked on his novel, race relations, which seemed to be on a positive path in the years following the Civil War, once again became strained; Jim Crow laws, designed to limit the power of blacks in the South, began a new, insidious effort to oppress. Twain made a powerful decision when he chose to describe a system that no longer existed, when doing so could just lead the unsympathetic reader to claim that things had gotten much better for blacks.
One way to analyze this decision is to read slavery as an allegorical representation of the condition of blacks in the United States
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