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p. 111. Early abolitionism

Prophets versus profitslocked

  • Richard S. Newman


Among the first documented slave rebellions was a 1522 uprising of captive Africans in the Spanish Caribbean. “Early abolitionism: prophets versus profits” describes how new allies of enslaved people helped put abolition on the Atlantic World’s political and cultural radar during the late-1600s and early-1700s. However, as European empires built New World economies, they created massive labor needs. The first formal challenge to bondage in colonial America was the Quakers’ Germantown Protest in 1688. The work of influential abolitionist figures such as Anthony Benezet is described along with the progress of abolitionism during the Age of Revolution. American abolitionists had to overcome political fears about disunion as well as pro-slavery arguments about bondage’s economic importance.

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