Abolitionists Summary

Abolitionists - Abolitionists Summary Analysis The Big Picture Who What When Where(Especially Why Slavery and Freedom Slavery in human societies

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Slavery and Freedom Slavery in human societies dates back at least to antiquity in Egypt. Aristotle once argued that, "from the hour of their birth, some men are marked out for subjection, others for rule." 9 While such a concept seems imbued with the spirit of autocracy, Aristotle in fact hailed from Athens, the birthplace of democracy. Thus the institution of slavery had a very long history of paradoxical existence within otherwise free and democratic nations that long predated its introduction into the colonies that became the United States after 1776. The apparent contrast between a defiance of divine birthright (the American Revolution against the monarchy) and the acceptance of subordination-from-birth (slavery) was not lost on many colonists, black and white. Although paradoxical, there may have been a sort of relationship at play between the two extremes (some professors might call this relationship a "dialectic" ): the blatant inequality, inhumanity, and cruel subjection of bondage and the idealistic self- determination of a free and equal society. The two opposites emerged and developed in contrast to one another, yet alongside one another, similar to the Chinese concept of yin and yang. As historian David Brion Davis has described it, "Since man has a remarkable capacity to imagine abstract states of perfection, he very early imagined a perfect form of subordination." Thus the ideal and the real coexisted in the first 250 years of European settlement on the North American continent; but the lingering potency of the ideal—that is, "that all men are created equal"—also
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This note was uploaded on 01/04/2012 for the course AMH AMH2010 taught by Professor Pietrzak during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.

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Abolitionists - Abolitionists Summary Analysis The Big Picture Who What When Where(Especially Why Slavery and Freedom Slavery in human societies

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