The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture
Winner of several national awards including the 1967 Pulitzer Prize, this classic study by David Brion Davis has given new direction to the historical and sociological research of society's attitude towards slavery.
Davis depicts the various ways different societies have responded to the intrinsic contradictions of slavery from antiquity to the early 1770's in order to establish the uniqueness of the abolitionists' response. While slavery has always caused considerable social and psychological tension, Western culture has associated it with certain religious and philosophical doctrines that gave it the highest sanction. The contradiction of slavery grew more profound when it became closely linked with American colonization, which had as its basic foundation the desire and opportunity to create a more perfect society. Davis provides a comparative analysis of slave systems in the Old World, a discussion of the early attitudes towards American slavery, and a detailed exploration of the early protests against Negro bondage, as well as the religious, literary, and philosophical developments that contributed to both sides in the controversies of the late eighteenth century. This exemplary introduction to the history of slavery in Western culture presents the traditions in thought and value that gave rise to the attitudes of both abolitionists and defenders of slavery in the late eighteenth century as well as the nineteenth century.
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abolitionists accepted African trade American slavery ancient Anthony Benezet antislavery thought Barbados Benjamin Lay bondage bondsmen Brazil British West British West Indies C. R. Boxer Carolina chattel Christian Church civilization Code Noir colonies colonists cultural divine Donnan economic Edward eighteenth century emancipation England English Enlightenment enslavement Europe European evil force France free Negroes freedom French George Godwyn human Ibid ideal ideas Indian Slavery institution Island Jamaica John John Woolman L'Esclavage labor later liberty London man's manumission master ment merchants Montesquieu moral mulattoes nations natural law Negro Negro History Negro slavery original Oroonoko passim Pennsylvania philosophers plantations planters political Portuguese Protestant punishment Quakers racial Raynal reform religion religious Roman Royal African Company Saint Saint Domingue servants servitude Sewall slave system slave trade slaveholders social society soul South Spanish theory Thomas tion traditional villeins Virginia West Indian West Indies William Woolman York