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HIST311: The Age of the Atlantic Slave Trade, 1500-1900

Unit 7: Abolition   That the Atlantic slave trade would end was never a given. However, a number of forces in the late 1700s and early 1800s paved the way for the enactment of legislation prohibiting the slave trade. Religious groups (namely Quakers and evangelical Protestants) advocated for an end to the slave trade, a system of commerce that they believed to be regressive and morally evil. Enlightenment ideas, particularly notions of the progress and liberty of mankind, buttressed arguments in favor of abolition. The rise of free trade ideology put mercantilist policies – of which the slave trade was one – on the defensive. In addition, the dissolution of European empires during the Age of Revolutions contributed to rising opposition to what had been an imperially sanctioned commerce. While the movement to end the slave trade gathered steam, especially in Britain, America, and France, the abolition movement also encountered a number of impediments. The continued profitability of the Atlantic slave trade and sugar production stalled abolition on several fronts. However, when countries began to view the Atlantic slave trade as an act of piracy and an illegitimate form of commerce, abolition was accepted and enacted. Denmark was the first nation to abolish its Atlantic slave trade, in 1803, and Cuba was the last, in 1866. In the interim, however, slave trading in the Atlantic persisted and, in some cases, even escalated.

In this unit, we will examine the social, political, and economic causes of abolition. We will also study the obstacles to abolition in Europe, Africa, and the Americas. In addition, we will compare and contrast abolition movements and consider how the end of the Atlantic slave trade impacted labor systems and the world economy.

Unit 7 Time Advisory
This unit will take you approximately 14 hours.

☐    Subunit 7.1: 3.75 hours

☐    Subunit 7.2: 2.5 hours

☐    Subunit 7.3: 2.75 hours

☐    Subunit 7.4: 5 hours ☐    Introduction: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 7.4.1: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 7.4.2: 0.5 hours

Unit7 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to: - identify and examine the key arguments (pros and cons) for the abolition of the Atlantic slave trade in the 19th century; - compare and contrast as well as discuss abolition movements and the obstacles they faced in not only Europe, but also Africa, and the Americas; and - assess and evaluate the political, social, and economic consequences and legacies of the Atlantic slave trade.

7.1 Resistance and Abolition   - Reading: The Saylor Foundation’s “Resistance and Abolition” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Resistance and Abolition” (PDF)
 
Read this article. Consider these questions as you read: in what ways did Africans resist slavery and what was the impact of this resistance? Who was involved in anti-slavery movements and how did the sentiment spread? What arguments did anti-slavery movements use to advance their cause?
 
Reading this article should take approximately 15 minutes.

7.1.1 Africans’ Resistance   - Reading: University of Groningen’s American History: Edward Hicks’ “Testimony” Link: University of Groningen’s American History: Edward Hicks’ “Testimony” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this text. As you read, consider the following questions: Why does Edward Hicks say he was afraid of going to New Orleans? Describe his journey from the block of the courthouse to when he fled. Who assisted Hicks after he fled the first time, and how does he describe his journey and means of travel afterward? How did Hicks come to be enslaved again? What means did he use to avoid detection? Where did he ultimately end his journey?
 
Reading this article and answering the questions above should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Connexions: Cory Ledoux’s “Slavery, Resistance, and Rebellion across the Americas”

    Link: Connexions: Cory Ledoux’s “Slavery, Resistance, and Rebellion across the Americas” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this text. As you read, consider the following questions: What planned slave revolts does the author of “Slavery, Resistance, and Rebellion across the Americas” identify? According to George Dunham’s travel journey, what did white populations perceive as signs of an impending slave revolt? What was a more subtle form of resistance? What were runaway slaves known as in the United States?

    Reading this article and answering the questions above should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

7.1.2 Abolitionism   - Reading: University of Groningen: Thomas Jefferson’s “On Slavery”

Link: University of Groningen: Thomas Jefferson’s [“On
Slavery”](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/HIST311-7.1.2-Thomas-Jefferson.pdf)
(PDF)  
    
 Instructions: Read this text. Thomas Jefferson opposed slavery, but
he did not believe their freedom was completely possible in America
society. His ambivalence towards slavery is well represented in this
excerpt.  
  

Reading this article should take approximately 30 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: This material is part of the public domain.
  • Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook: “Slaves’ Appeal to Thomas Gage, Royal Governor of Massachusetts, May 25, 1774”

    Link: Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook: “Slaves’ Appeal to Thomas Gage, Royal Governor of Massachusetts, May 25, 1774” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read this text. In this reading, a group of slaves petition the governor of Massachusetts for help using arguments drawn from the natural rights ideas.
     

    Reading this article should take approximately 15 minutes.
                          
    Terms of Use: This material is part of the public domain.

  • Reading: Wikipedia’s “Atlantic Slave Trade”

    Link: Wikipedia’s “Atlantic Slave Trade” (HTML)

    Instructions: Scroll down to the section titled “End of the Atlantic Slave Trade,” and read this brief section. As you read, consider the following questions: When was the slave trade abolished in Britain and the United States? How did the actions of the United States in this regard differ from Britain? What was the West African Squadron and what were its goals? What was the last slave ship to land on American soil and when did it arrive?

    Reading this article should take approximately 15 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Yale Law School: Lillian Goldman Law Library’s Avalon Project: “An Act to Prohibit the Importation of Slaves into any Port or Place Within the Jurisdiction of the United States, From and After the First Day of January, in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Eight”

    Link: Yale Law School: Lillian Goldman Law Library’s Avalon Project: “An Act to Prohibit the Importation of Slaves into any Port or Place Within the Jurisdiction of the United States, From and After the First Day of January, in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Eight” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read “An Act to Prohibit the Importation of Slaves.” As you read, consider the following questions: Who and what actions do the 1808 US Act to Prohibit the Importation of Slaves address? What are the consequences for disobeying the various provisions of the 1808 Act?

    Reading this article should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: William Lloyd Garrison’s Selections from “Declaration of Sentiments of the American Anti-Slavery Convention”

    Link: William Lloyd Garrison’s Selections from “Declaration of Sentiments of the American Anti-Slavery Convention” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this primary source document. As you read, consider the following questions: According to W. L. Garrison, for what express purpose did individuals meet in Philadelphia in 1833? What and who does Garrison reference in explaining the cause and mission of those gathered in Philadelphia? How does Garrison define and characterize slavery? What arguments does he invoke in support of abolition?

    Reading this article and answering the questions above should take approximately 45 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

7.1.3 Commemorating 1808   - Reading: The Saylor Foundation’s “Commemorating 1808” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Commemorating 1808” (PDF)
 
Read this article. Consider these questions as you read: which countries were the first to abolish the slave trade? What was the initial response of free blacks and abolitionists in the US? What altered this initial response?
 
Reading this article should take approximately 10 minutes.

7.2 The Slave Trade in the Post-1808 Era   7.2.1 Illegal Slave Trade   - Reading: The Saylor Foundation’s “Illegal Slave Trade” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Illegal Slave Trade” (PDF)
 
Read this article. Consider these questions as you read: in what ways did the legal end of the slave trade alter African slave markets? Which regions absorbed the majority of African slaves during the illegal trade in the nineteenth century and why? In what ways did slaving practices and participants change in the illegal trade?
 
Reading this article should take approximately 15 minutes.

 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution 3.0 Unported
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/). It is
attributed to The Saylor Foundation. 

7.2.2 Revival of the Slave Trade   - Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook: Frederick Douglass’ “The Hypocrisy of American Slavery, July 4, 1852”

Link: Fordham University’s *Internet Modern History Sourcebook*:
Frederick Douglass’ [“The Hypocrisy of American Slavery, July 4,
1852”](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/HIST311-7.2.2-Frederick-Douglas.pdf)
(PDF)  
    
 Instructions: Read this text. In this address, Frederick Douglass
(1818–1895), a former slave and leader of the abolitionist movement,
launched an attack on the United States society in general, and the
Christian Church in particular.  

 Reading this article should take approximately 30 minutes.


 Terms of Use: This resource was reposted by The Saylor Foundation
with permission from Fordham University. Please note that this
material is under copyright and cannot be reproduced in any capacity
without explicit permission from the copyright holder. 
  • Reading: John C. Calhoun’s “The Southern Address, 1849”

    Link: John C. Calhoun’s “The Southern Address, 1849” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read Calhoun’s 1849 address. As you read, consider the following questions: What does Calhoun reference in his history of the relations between Europeans and Africans in the United States prior to 1819? Why did 1819 mark a turning point? In what ways did the US Supreme Court support slave owners after 1819? What acts does Calhoun identify as attempts of “destroying the relations between the two races at the South”? In what ways did the acquisition of new territories impact the debate over slavery? What does Calhoun suggest would be the consequences of emancipation in the South? What does Calhoun call for at the end of his address?
     
    Reading this article and answering the questions above should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Yale University: Lillian Goldman Law Library’s Avalon Project: “Fugitive Slave Act 1850” Link: Yale University: Lillian Goldman Law Library’s Avalon Project: “Fugitive Slave Act 1850” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read the text. As you review this Act, consider the following questions: What does the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act establish and address? In what ways do Sections 6 and 7 define fugitive slaves and provide for their return to slave owners?

    Reading this article and answering the questions above should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: This resource has been dedicated to the Public Domain under a Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication 1.0 Universal

7.2.3 Suppression   - Reading: The Saylor Foundation’s “Suppression of the Atlantic Slave Trade” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Suppression of the Atlantic Slave Trade” (PDF)
 
Read this article. Consider these questions as you read: what actions did abolitionists in Europe and the Americas take in their campaigns to end slavery? Where was slavery abolished first and what were the circumstances under which this occurred? What inspired abolitionists to ramp up their campaigns in the 1830s? What unique challenges did abolitionists in the United States face?
 
Reading this article should take approximately 15 minutes.

 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution 3.0
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/). It is
attributed to The Saylor Foundation. 

7.3 Impact of the Slave Trade   - Reading: Wikipedia’s “Atlantic Slave Trade” Link: Wikipedia’s “Atlantic Slave Trade” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Scroll down to the section titled “Effects,” and read this brief section. As you read, consider the following questions: What factors have scholars examined in assessing the impact of slavery? On what do they agree and disagree? What contribution did slavery make to the Industrial Revolution?
 
Reading this article and answering the questions above should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareALike 3.0 Unported License. It is attributed to Wikipedia. 

7.3.1 Demography   - Reading: Wikipedia’s “Atlantic Slave Trade”

Link: Wikipedia’s [“Atlantic Slave
Trade”](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_slave_trade) (HTML)


 Instructions: Scroll down to the section titled “Demographics,” and
read this brief section. As you read, consider the following
questions: What are some of the arguments for the stagnation of the
population in Africa during the period? How do population statistics
in Africa compare to those in Europe and the Americas? What impact
did slavery have on the demographics in Africa? What are the
arguments for the way in which slavery created a legacy of racism?  
    
 Reading this article and answering the questions above should take
approximately 15 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-ShareALike
3.](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)[0
Unported](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)[ License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/).
It is attributed to Wikipedia. 

7.3.2 Economics   - Reading: Internet Archive: Anika Francis’s “The Economics of the African Slave Trade” Link: Internet Archive: Anika Francis’s “The Economics of the African Slave Trade” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this text. As you read, consider the following questions: According to John Henrik Clarke, what effect did the slave trade have on Europe between the years 1400–1600? From which regions of Africa did the slave trade draw? What accounted for the continued demand for slaves from Africa? Describe the economic system of mercantilism. What was its primary purpose? How did the economic system change in the 18th century, and what drove this change?
 
Reading this article and answering the questions above should take approximately 30 minutes.

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

7.3.3 Culture   - Reading: The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: Laurie F. Maffly-Kipp’s “An Introduction to the Church in the Southern Black Community” Link: The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: Laurie F. Maffly-Kipp’s “An Introduction to the Church in the Southern Black Community” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the essay “An Introduction to the Church in the Southern Black Community” by Laurie F. Maffly-Kipp. As you read, consider the following questions: What accounts for the emergence of religious traditions that may be classified as “African-American” during the 19th century? With what religious movement did this coincide? How was religious belief practiced in slave quarters, and what made these practices distinct? What role did churches play in the period immediately following emancipation? What role did women play in churches after emancipation?
 
Reading this article and answering the questions above should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Charles Ball’s “I Assisted…to Inter the Infant” Link: Charles Ball’s “I Assisted…to Inter the Infant” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this brief slave narrative. As you read, consider the following question: In Charles Ball’s account, what was buried with the deceased infant?
     
    Reading this article and answering the questions above should take approximately 15 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Peter Randolph’s “The Slave Assemble in the Swamps” Link: Peter Randolph’s “The Slave Assemble in the Swamps” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this slave narrative. As you read, consider the following questions: According to Peter Randolph, what type of religious instruction did slaves receive from slave-holding ministers? How did this differ from the religious meetings slaves held of their own accord?
     
    Reading this article and answering the questions above should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Henry Bibb’s “Many Believe…in What They Call Conjuration” Link: Henry Bibb’s “Many Believe…in What They Call Conjuration” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this slave narrative. As you read, consider the following questions: According to Henry Bibb, why did the white population oppose Sabbath schools for slaves? How does Bibb describe the manner in which slaves who were not religiously inclined spent the Sabbath? What is conjuration?
     
    Reading this article and answering the questions above should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

7.4 Legacy of the Slave Trade   - Reading: After Slavery’s Race, Labor, and Politics in the Post-Emancipation Carolinas: “Unit One: Emancipation: Giving Meaning to Freedom” Link: After Slavery’s Race, Labor, and Politics in the Post-Emancipation Carolinas“Unit One: Emancipation: Giving Meaning to Freedom” (HTML)

 Instructions: Read the introductory material to Unit One, titled
“Emancipation: Giving Meaning to Freedom.” Then, read all 9 primary
source documents. To access these, scroll your mouse over the Unit
One heading, and select each document. You may also download a PDF
version of this unit by clicking on the “PDF version of this page”
link. Answer the questions following each primary document in the
unit.   

 Reading this article and answering the questions in this unit
should take approximately 3 hours.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.  
  

7.4.1 Consequences   - Reading: Internet Archive: Robin Law’s “The Transition from the Slave Trade to ‘Legitimate’ Commerce” Link: Internet Archive: Robin Law’s “The Transition from the Slave Trade to ‘Legitimate’ Commerce” (HTML)

 Instructions: Read the text. As you read, consider the following
questions: What products replaced the trade in slaves in the
commercial transition after the ending of the Atlantic slave trade?
To which party of this new trade does the adjective *legitimate*
apply most? Why? In what ways did the end of the Atlantic slave
trade affect the internal slave trade in Africa? Explain the notion
of *crisis of adaptation*. What effects did the transition from
slave trading to commerce in palm oil have on gender relations in
Africa? How did European nations come to partition Africa amongst
themselves? How did they justify this partition?  

 Reading this article and answering the questions above should take
approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

7.4.2 Reparations   - Reading: Carnegie Council: “Special Report: ‘Reparations for Slavery’ Debate”

Link: Carnegie Council: [“Special Report: ‘Reparations for Slavery’
Debate”](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/HIST311-7.4.2-Special-Report-%E2%80%9CReparations-for-Slavery%E2%80%9D-Debate.pdf)
(PDF)  
    
 Instructions: Read the article to get an introductory view of the
debate over reparations for slavery, in the United States and
internationally.


 Reading this article should take approximately 30 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: This resource has been reposted by The Saylor
Foundation with permission from the Carnegie Council on Ethics in
International Affairs. It can be viewed in its original form
[here](http://www.carnegiecouncil.org/resources/picks/175.html) (HTML). Please
note that this material is under copyright and cannot be reproduced
in any capacity without explicit permission from the copyright
holder.
  • Reading: Mount Holyoke College: History Department’s “Slavery Reparations” Link: Mount Holyoke College: History Department’s “Slavery Reparations(HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read the sections “What are Reparations?,” “Timelines,” “Emancipation Proclamation,” “History of Reparations Payments,” and “Reparations Arguments” by clicking on the links on the left hand-side of the page.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.