“If there be an object truly ridiculous in nature, it is an American patriot, signing resolutions of independency with the one hand, and with the other brandishing a whip over his affrighted slaves. . .”-Thomas Day, 1776
The middle part of a trilogy that includes "The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture" and "The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation," Yale professor David Brion Davis's massive, exhaustively researched (and sometimes exhausting to read) volume will be the definitive book on the subject for years to come. This is written for an academic audience, not for a general one, and can be a dense and difficult book. Davis traces the history of slavery and of the anti-slavery movement, concentrating on America, Britain, and France. Seemingly every important figure of the day had an opinion about it and Thomas Jefferson, William Wilberforce, Pitt, Samuel Johnson, Tom Paine, Ben Franklin, Hegel, Adam Smith, and Edmund Burke are all quoted on the subject. For a slightly less formidable read, there is "The Half Has Not Been Told" and "The Empire of Necessity."
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