Slavery Since the American Revolution

  • Jonathan Hart


The last quarter of the eighteenth century was crucial in the debate over slavery in the American colonies because when thirteen of the provinces in British America made their break with Britain, their inhabitants and leaders had a debate over what kind of country they would form. Although these colonies were not the only places with slaves or the only places that are discussed here, their role is prominent because of these critical circumstances. The American Revolution, like the French Revolution, declared liberty to be a principal theme. Freedom at this time, unlike that in the period of the English Revolution almost one hundred and fifty years before, was a product of the Enlightenment. The question of universal rights for human beings was being raised and even though questions of class, race, and gender took a long time to resolve in practice (and indeed continue to this day), at least the theory called into question the ascendancy of European males of substantial property. Slavery, then, was part of a wider movement to equal civil and human rights, a change that is still underway.


Black People Slave Trade American Revolution African Slave American Coloni 
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© Jonathan Hart 2005

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  • Jonathan Hart

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