- ›› Keywords : Slavery
Of the 10 to 16 million Africans who survived the voyage to the New World, over one-third landed in Brazil and between 60 and 70 percent ended up in Brazil or the sugar colonies of the Caribbean. Only 6 percent arrived in what is now the United States. Yet by 1860, approximately two thirds of all New World slaves lived in the American South.
For a long time it was widely assumed that southern slavery was harsher and crueler than slavery in Latin America, where the Catholic church insisted that slaves had a right to marry, to seek...
January 1, 2013, marked the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. This revolutionary document ushered in the Thirteenth Amendment and the end of slavery in the United States. These two great legal documents were the culmination of a long struggle that began in the colonial period with the arrival of the first African slaves in North America. The Great Emancipation of the 1860s cannot be understood without studying what is often called the “first emancipation”—the growing belief among many...
“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, 1776Background
The concept of “Liberty” is one that many hold dear. However, what liberty means to each individual may vary depending on his or her situation. During the American...
Myth: Slavery is a product of capitalism.Fact: Slavery is older than the first human records.Myth: Slavery is a product of Western civilization.Fact: Slavery is virtually a universal institution.Myth: Slavery in the non-Western world was a mild, benign, and non-economic institution.Fact: Slaves were always subject to torture, sexual exploitation, and arbitrary...
General Assembly determines “Negro women’s children to serve according to the condition of the mother.”1667
General Assembly passes “An act declaring the baptisme of slaves doth not exempt them from bondage.”1669
Virginia passes an act regarding the casual killing of slaves: “If any slave resist his master (or other by his master’s order correcting him) and by the extremity of the correction should chance to die, that his death shall not be accompted felony.”1670
I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.
Abigail Adams to John Adams, March 31, 1776Reading 2
On the 200th anniversary of the ratification of the US Constitution, Thurgood Marshall, the first African American to sit on the Supreme Court, said that the Constitution was “defective from the start.” He pointed out that the framers had left out a majority of Americans when they wrote the phrase, “We the People.” While some members of the Constitutional Convention voiced “eloquent objections” to slavery, Marshall said they “consented to a document which laid a foundation for the tragic events which were to follow.”
The word “slave...