Abolition of Slavery

About this Collection

The anti-slavery movement emerged in the late 18th century as part of the more general movement of reform known as the Enlightenment. As major colonial powers with extensive slave colonies France and Britain both had a significant anti-slavery movement. The effort to abolish slavery began with a campaign to end the traffic in slaves from Africa across the Atlantic, and then to abolish slavery within the colonies. The arguments used against slavery and the slave trade were a mixture of religious, moral, political, and economic arguments.

For more information see:

  • David Brion Davis, The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1970).
  • David Brion David, The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revoltuion, 1770-1823 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1977).
  • Roger Anstey, The Atlantic Slave Trade and British Abolition, 1760-1810 (Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey: Humanities Press, 1975).
  • William M. Wiecek, The Sources of Antislavery Constitutionalism in America, 1760-1848 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1977).
  • Robin Blackburn, The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery, 1776-1848 (London: Verso, 1988).


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