Which was the first civilization to ban slavery?

Which was the first civilization to ban slavery?

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Which was the first civilization to ban existing slavery with a law?

For example, if Civilization X never had slavery and it makes a law banning it, it won't count for this purposes. I've looked online but found nothing.

(I'm aware of the other question about slavery. This is different because this is asking which civilization actually banned slavery after having it, not who was the first person to realize slavery was wrong.)

On the 27th of January 1416, the Republic of Ragusa (Dubrovnik) banned the slave trade. At a meeting of the Grand Chamber of the Republic of Dubrovnik on the 27th of January 1416 a total of 75 councillors of 78 in the council voted to ban slavery in the Republic. The very next day the vote and the decision came into effect and slavery was banned. Dubrovnik the city state had never participated in the slave trade, but this decision went further.

The decision stated that "none of our nationals or foreigners, and everyone who considers himself or herself from Dubrovnik, can in any way or under any pretext to buy or sell slaves or female servant or be a mediator in such trade.” With this decision the Republic of Dubrovnik was among the first countries in Europe and in the world to ban the buying and selling of slaves.

For example Great Britain banned the trading of slaves 391 years later, and the USA banned the slave trade 450 years after Dubrovnik on the 18th of December 1865.


Freedom From Slavery Came Early in an Unexpected Country. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/regina-fraser-and-pat-johnson/freedom-from-slavery-croatia_b_4905880.html

More about Dubrovnik… By the Republic of Raguso (Dubrovnik), it was the first country to recognize the young United States. The Republic of Dubrovnik ended in 1806 when Dubrovnik was surrendered to Napoleon. Today Dubrovnik is a UNESCO world heritage site, and the setting for multiple cities in the HBO series "Game of Thrones", including Kings Landing, Quarth, Battle of the Blackwater, and Dorn.

Seems like the other answers are late by at least a thousand years - China did it around the beginning of the common era. From Wikipedia:

In the year AD 9, the Emperor Wang Mang usurped the Chinese throne and instituted a series of sweeping reforms, including the abolition of slavery and radical land reform. Slavery was reinstated in AD 12 before his assassination in AD 23.

In that same wikipedia article, another prominent example is that during the Ming Dynasty:

The Hongwu Emperor sought to abolish all forms of slavery but in practice, slavery continued through the Ming dynasty.

So it seems that there were at least some enlightened rulers, but they were not 100% effective (much like modern times, [1]).

Another place to look is this WIkiepedia article where they speak about it happening in Greece in about 600 BC. But it seems slavery was only banned for Greeks, and they still had Barbarian slaves.

[1] I'd ask readers to note that slavery is illegal in the United States and much of the world today, yet it still exists in different forms.

It seems that the bannishment of slavery in France predates the ruling in Ragusa in the other answer by a century.

Quoting @T.E.D.'s answer in a different question :

King Louis X in 1315 declared that "France signifies freedom", and ordered all slaves and serfs setting foot on French soil to be freed. It seems to be assumed that this was in a large part a financial move (the serfs were supposed to pay the crown for their freedom), but the principle was applied to foreign slaves imported into France thereafter, to no financial benefit to the crown.

Another incentive might have been to legitimize the (then finishing and victorious) fight of the crown against the Order of Solomon's Temple, whose knights had often brought back slaves from the last crusades.

Sure, that ruling will not stop France from actively enforcing slavery oversees when it built its colonial empire(s) centuries later. However, I am not aware of the existence of any slaves on mainland France after the 14th century. Though Wikipedia points that

some limited cases of slavery continued until the 17th century in some of France's Mediterranean harbours in Provence.

America's First Anti-Slavery Statute Was Passed in 1652. Here's Why It Was Ignored

S lavery in the United States wasn’t abolished at the federal level until after the Civil War, but on this day in history, May 18, 1652, the first anti-slavery statute in the U.S. colonies was passed in what’s now the state of Rhode Island. (The statute only applied to white and black people, but in 1676, the enslavement of Native Americans was also prohibited in the state.) While it sounds like Rhode Island was ahead of its time &mdash and, in some ways, it was &mdash what actually happened was complicated.

Though Rhode Island’s Quaker population was starting to question slavery and the relatively young colony was looking for ways to differentiate itself from neighboring Massachusetts, the statute was very limited. For one thing, the law, which only applied to Providence and Warwick, banned lifetime ownership of slaves. For periods of 10 years or less, it was still permitted to essentially own another person, as an indentured servent. And it’s not as if, 10 years after the statute was passed, people let their slaves go.

“There’s no evidence that it was ever enforced,” says Christy Clark-Pujara, author of Dark Work: The Business of Slavery in Rhode Island and professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Which was the first civilization to ban slavery? - History

Roman collared slaves, marble relief, Smyrna (present day Izmir, Turkey), 200 A.D., courtesy of the Ashmolean Museum.

Various forms of slavery, servitude, or coerced human labor existed throughout the world before the development of the trans-Atlantic slave trade in the sixteenth century. As historian David Eltis explains, “almost all peoples have been both slaves and slaveholders at some point in their histories.” Still, earlier coerced labor systems in the Atlantic World generally differed, in terms of scale, legal status, and racial definitions, from the trans-Atlantic chattel slavery system that developed and shaped New World societies from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries.

Mansa Musa in Catalan Atlas, drawn by Abraham Cresques of Mallorca, 1375, courtesy of the British Library. Mansa Musa was the African ruler of the Mali Empire in the 14th century. When Mansa Musa, a Muslim, took a pilgrimage to Mecca in 1324 he reportedly brought a procession of 60,000 men and 12,000 slaves.


Slavery was prevalent in many West and Central African societies before and during the trans-Atlantic slave trade. When diverse African empires, small to medium-sized nations, or kinship groups came into conflict for various political and economic reasons, individuals from one African group regularly enslaved captives from another group because they viewed them as outsiders. The rulers of these slaveholding societies could then exert power over these captives as prisoners of war for labor needs, to expand their kinship group or nation, influence and disseminate spiritual beliefs, or potentially to trade for economic gain. Though shared African ethnic identities such as Yoruba or Mandinka may have been influential in this context, the concept of a unified black racial identity, or of individual freedoms and labor rights, were not yet meaningful.

Map of Main slave trade routes in Medieval Africabefore the development of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, 2012.

West and Central African elites and royalty from slaveholding societies even relied on their kinship group, ranging from family members to slaves, to secure and maintain their wealth and status. By controlling the rights of their kinship group, western and central African elites owned the products of their labor. In contrast, before the trans-Atlantic trade, western European elites focused on owning land as private property to secure their wealth. These elites held rights to the products produced on their land through various labor systems, rather than owning the laborers as chattel property. In contrast, land in rural western and central African regions (outside of densely populated or riverine areas) was often open to cultivation, rather than divided into individual landholdings, so controlling labor was a greater priority. The end result in both regional systems was that elites controlled the profits generated from products cultivated through laborers and land. The different emphasis on what or whom they owned to guarantee rights over these profits shaped the role of slavery in these regions before the trans-Atlantic trade.

Scholars also argue that West Africa featured several politically decentralized, or stateless, societies. In such societies the village, or a confederation of villages, was the largest political unit. A range of positions of authority existed within these villages, but no one person or group claimed the positions of ruler or monarchy. According to historian Walter Hawthorne, in this context, government worked through group consensus. In addition, many of these small-scale, decentralized societies rejected slaveholding.

As the trans-Atlantic slave trade with Europeans expanded from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries, however, both non-slaveholding and slaveholding West and Central African societies experienced the pressures of greater demand for enslaved labor. In contrast to the chattel slavery that later developed in the New World, an enslaved person in West and Central Africa lived within a more flexible kinship group system. Anyone considered a slave in this region before the trans-Atlantic trade had a greater chance of becoming free within a lifetime legal rights were generally not defined by racial categories and an enslaved person was not always permanently separated from biological family networks or familiar home landscapes.

The rise of plantation agriculture as central to Atlantic World economies from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries led to a generally more extreme system of chattel slavery. in this system, human beings became movable commodities bought and sold in mass numbers across significant geographic distances, and their status could be shaped by concepts of racial inferirority and passed on to their desendants. New World plantations also generally required greater levels of exertion than earlier labor systems, so that slaveholders could produce a profit within competitive trans-Atlantic markets.

Pyramid ruins in Yaxzhilan, an ancient Mayan city in Chiapas, Mexico, 2005. Maya was a hierarchical Mesoamerican civilization established ca. 1500-2000 BC. The Mayan social hierarchy included captive or tribute laborers who helped build structures such as pyramids.


In the centuries before the arrival of European explorers, diverse American Indian groups lived in a wide range of social structures. Many of these socio-political structures included different forms of slavery or coerced labor, based on enslaving prisoners of war between conflicting groups, enforcing slavery within the class hierarchy of an empire, or forced tribute payments of goods or labor to demonstrate submission to a leader. However, like West and Central African slavery, American Indian slavery generally functioned within a more fluid kinship system in contrast to what later developed in the New World.

Ultimately, the practice of slavery as an oppressive and exploitative labor system was prevalent in both Western Africa and the Americas long before the influence of Europeans. Still, the factors that defined the social, political, and economic purposes and scale of slavery significantly changed, expanded, and intensified with the rise of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and American plantation agriculture launched by European expansion. For these reasons, African and American Indian slavery before the trans-Atlantic trade differed significantly from the chattel slavery systems that would later develop in the Atlantic World.

Greek slave presenting infant to its mother, vase, Eretria, Ancient Greece, 470-460 B.C., courtesy of the National Archaeological Museum.

Serfs in feudal England, on a calendar page for August, Queen Mary’s Psalter, ca. 1310, courtesy of the British Library Manuscripts Online Catalogue.


In contrast to other Atlantic World regions, slavery was not prevalent in Western Europe in the centuries before the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Instead, labor contracts, convict labor, and serfdom prevailed. This had not always been the case. During the Roman Empire and into the early Middle Ages, enslaved Europeans could be found in every region of this subcontinent. After the Roman Empire collapsed (starting in 400 A.D. in northern Europe), the practice of individual Europeans owning other Europeans as chattel property began to decline.

As described in the following sections, this decline occurred due to unique religious, geographic, and political circumstances in Western Europe. By 1200, chattel slavery had all but disappeared from northwestern Europe. Southern Europeans along the Mediterranean coast continued to purchase slaves from various parts of Eastern Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. In Lisbon, for example, African slaves comprised one tenth of the population in the 1460s. Overall, however, the slave trade into southern Europe was relatively small compared to what later developed in the New World.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, western European elites began to focus on acquiring and controlling land, and the goods produced on the land they owned, rather than controlling laborers through slavery to accumulate goods. The European labor systems that began to replace slavery should not be confused with modern free labor, but serfdom, convict labor, and contract systems did grant workers access to rights that were denied to slaves. For example, European serfs were bound to work for the lord of a manor, but in return the lord provided protection and land that serfs could farm for their own subsistence. While serfs did not own the land they worked, they could not be sold away from it like chattel slaves. Instead, serfs were bound to whichever lord currently owned the manor. By the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, serfdom declined in Western Europe due to population changes and economic shifts resulting from the Black Death. Hiring contract laborers became more profitable for landowners in Western Europe and as a result, European laborers gained greater control over their own labor and mobility.

Haiti was the first nation to permanently ban slavery

Global protests in support of Black Lives Matter have systematically exposed the legacies of slavery and colonialism today.

This has put many on the defensive. White people are quick to tout stories of abolition, emphasizing the path bravely forged by imperial powers like Britain and France. They diminish the realities and consequences of slavery and colonialism by demanding gratitude for ending the same violent systems they had previously implemented.

These narratives are historically inaccurate. Neither the French nor the British were the first to abolish slavery. That honor instead goes to Haiti, the first nation to permanently ban slavery and the slave trade from the first day of its existence. The bold acts of Haitians to overthrow slavery and colonialism reverberated around the world, forcing slaveholding nations like Britain and France to come face to face with the contradictions of their own “enlightenment.” Many would now like to forget this reckoning.

Beginning in 1697, Haiti was a French colony with the name Saint Domingue. By the second half of the 18th century, it was the most wealth-producing colony in the world, exporting sugar, coffee and indigo to France. Enslaved men, women and children produced this wealth under an incredibly violent system of slavery, regulated and legitimated under Louis XIV’s Code Noir. The death rate among the enslaved was so high that the French constantly imported new captives to work the plantations. At any one time, about two-thirds of the enslaved population had been born in Africa.

In 1791, enslaved people on the northern sugar plains of Saint Domingue rose up in a coordinated rebellion to destroy French slavery. This started the 13-year event that has come to be known as the Haitian Revolution. In 1793, the rebels freed themselves by forcing the colonial commissioners to abolish slavery throughout the colony. The colony then sent a delegation to the French National Assembly to convince the French government to abolish slavery in the entire Empire. “The National Convention declares that negro slavery in all of the colonies is abolished, in consequence, it decrees that all men, without distinction of color, living in the colonies are French citizens and will enjoy the rights guaranteed by the constitution,” the Assembly wrote. This was France’s first abolition of slavery, a concession offered to retain the valuable colony within the Empire. But it wouldn’t last.

In 1799, Napoleon Bonaparte established himself as First Consul of France and became determined to rein in the growing autonomy of Saint Domingue under the revolutionary leader and colonial governor Toussaint L'Ouverture, who published the 1801 colonial constitution that “forever abolished” slavery.

Which was the first civilization to ban slavery? - History

Slavery is a system in which one human being is legally as property to another. In this system, human beings are treated as property, and are purchased and sold as such. In the system of slavery, the slaves are owner’s property and are forced to work.

Slavery can be traced back to the early civilizations it was documented in 1760 BC during the Sumer civilization, which was one of oldest civilizations. And, slavery was accepted as part of society in almost every ancient civilization, including ancient Greece, ancient Egypt, ancient India, ancient China, and the Roman Empire. The history of slavery starts from Sumer civilization and ends with the country Mauritania which was the last country to abolish slavery in 1981.

Slavery in Babylon – 18th Century BC

The Sumerian law code called Code of Ur-Nammu contains laws regarding slaves. This indicates, during Babylonian period slavery was an established institution. The laws for slaves were mentioned in the Code of Hammurabi, which includes death penalty for anyone who helps to escape slaves.

Slavery in Greece – From 7th Century BC

In ancient Greece, the records of slavery were traced back to Mycenaean Greece. As cities established in Ancient Greece, slavery became an important part of society and economy. Throughout the history of ancient Greece, slavery was common practice and an integral component of the society. Most ancient writers mentioned slavery in their writings: they considered it natural and necessary. It is estimated that, in ancient Greece, the majority of the people in Athens city owned at least one slave.

Slavery in Rome – From 2nd Century BC

The practice of slavery in Roman Empire was inherited from Greeks and Phoenicians. The 25% of population in Roman Empire consisted of slaves. The slaves in ancient Rome came from all over Europe and Mediterranean. Slave trading was a big business during this period. The trading took place between Roman Empire and the countries around the Mediterranean.

As the expansion of Roman Republic took place, the institution of slavery created and supplied slaves to work in Roman farms and households. In ancient Rome, the institution of slavery improved the Roman economy. Primarily, making war prisoners and defeated soldiers to work as slaves generated more revenue to the Roman Empire. The Roman armies used to bring captives back as part of their reward. Such war captives were made to work as slaves, who have performed many domestic services and worked as manual labor on farms and in mines. In the second century BC, plantation slavery started in Rome. In ancient Rome, Spartacus led series of slave revolts in the city called Sicily.

Slavery in the Middle Ages – 6th to 15th Century AD

During this period, the Roman Empire collapsed in the west, and slavery continued in Mediterranean countries. Chaos and invasions increased the slavery throughout Europe in the middle ages. During the middle ages, slavery was common in both Christian and Muslim lands. In Arabia, slavery was an accepted part of society during the time of the prophet Muhammad, in the 7th century. Slavery during middle ages has several sources. Vikings raided across Europe and captured slaves. They kept some slaves for themselves as servants and rest would be sold in the Islamic markets. The Viking slave trade gradually came to an end in 11th century. In 1066 AD, Normans invaded English countries and made slaves of the English gentry and sent them to Spain.

Slavery After 15th Century

In 15th century, Portuguese were the first to bring European ships in contact with sub-Saharan Africa to start slave trading. Over a period of time British also became involved in slave trading. By this time, slavery had spread and established in American colonies. The Atlantic triangular slave trade in 18th century was an economic elegance to the owners of slave ships.

In 17th century, slavery abolitionist movement began in England. The Slavery Abolition Act 1833 was passed in the parliament of United Kingdom which abolished the slavery throughout the British Empire. On 1st January 1863, the United States President Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation, which declares freedom for all people held in slavery in rebel states. The Emancipation Proclamation urges liberated slaves to refrain from violence, and it announced that freed slaves will be welcome to serve in United States Army and Navy. In the United States, slavery was officially abolished in 1865 by enactment of the 13th amendment to the constitution. After that, gradually all the countries abolished slavery. In 1981, Mauritania was the last country to abolish slavery.

“Cornerstone” Speech

After decades of sectional conflict centered on the question of slavery, the 1860 presidential election appeared to many Americans on both sides of the Mason Dixon Line to represent a point of no return in the ongoing national debate over critical issues ranging from the first principles to territorial governance. Abraham Lincoln’s electoral victory on the Republican ticket was seen by some Southerners as the beginning of the end of their ability to determine the course of national politics, and the governments of South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas responded by declaring their intention to secede from the Union during the winter of 1860–1861. Each of these states passed a resolution outlining the justifications for their action as in the case of Mississippi, these tended to emphasize the centrality of slavery as an institution to the Southern way of life and to paint Northern policies as not only a political but an existential threat.

When Lincoln delivered his First Inaugural Address on March 4, 1861, he sought to alleviate such fears by promising Southerners their regional and state practices would be as safe under his administration as they ever had been. Nevertheless, he also spoke stirringly of the permanent nature of the Union, and promised to defend it against any and all efforts to dismantle it. Although the speech concluded with an invocation of political friendship, Southern leaders such as Vice President of the Confederate States of America (CSA) Alexander Stephens rejected Lincoln’s overtures on the grounds that the Union as it had existed could never be resumed. That government had been fundamentally flawed, Stephens argued, because it was founded upon the principle of human equality. Peace, were it to be achieved, he insisted, could come only at the expense of the Union and the principles of the Declaration of Independence.

The competing principles of North and South were not only the preserve of political leaders they were deeply engrained in the culture of both areas as seen in the lyrics of the two “unofficial anthems” of the war: The Bonnie Blue Flag (CSA) and the Battle Cry of Freedom (USA) (Document E). Here, as in the political texts, competing understandings of liberty and rights emerge as justifications for the war.

Henry Cleveland, Alexander H. Stephens, in Public and Private: With Letters and Speeches, Before, During, and Since the War (Philadelphia, 1886), pp. 717-729.

. . . I was remarking that we are passing through one of the greatest revolutions in the annals of the world. Seven States have within the last three months thrown off an old government and formed a new. This revolution has been signally marked, up to this time, by the fact of its having been accomplished without the loss of a single drop of blood.

This new constitution or form of government, constitutes the subject to which your attention will be partly invited. In reference to it, I make this first general remark: it amply secures all our ancient rights, franchises, and liberties. All the great principles of Magna Charta are retained in it. No citizen is deprived of life, liberty, or property, but by the judgment of his peers under the laws of the land. . . . All the essentials of the old constitution, which have endeared it to the hearts of the American people, have been preserved and perpetuated. Some changes have been made. Some of these I should have preferred not to have seen made but other important changes do meet my cordial approbation. They form great improvements upon the old constitution. So, taking the whole new constitution, I have no hesitancy in giving it as my judgment that it is decidedly better than the old.

Allow me briefly to allude to some of these improvements. The question of building up class interests, or fostering one branch of industry to the prejudice of another under the exercise of the revenue power, which gave us so much trouble under the old constitution, is put at rest forever under the new. We allow the imposition of no duty with a view of giving advantage to one class of persons, in any trade or business, over those of another. All, under our system, stand upon the same broad principles of perfect equality. Honest labor and enterprise are left free and unrestricted in whatever pursuit they may be engaged. This old thorn of the tariff, which was the cause of so much irritation in the old body politic, is removed forever from the new.

Again, the subject of internal improvements, under the power of Congress to regulate commerce, is put at rest under our system. The power, claimed by construction under the old constitution, was at least a doubtful one it rested solely upon construction. We of the South, generally apart from considerations of constitutional principles, opposed its exercise upon grounds of its inexpediency and injustice. Notwithstanding this opposition, millions of money, from the common treasury had been drawn for such purposes. Our opposition sprang from no hostility to commerce, or to all necessary aids for facilitating it. With us it was simply a question upon whom the burden should fall. In Georgia, for instance, we have done as much for the cause of internal improvements as any other portion of the country, according to population and means. We have stretched out lines of railroads from the seaboard to the mountains dug down the hills, and filled up the valleys at a cost of not less than $25,000,000. All this was done to open an outlet for our products of the interior, and those to the west of us, to reach the marts of the world. No State was in greater need of such facilities than Georgia, but we did not ask that these works should be made by appropriations out of the common treasury. The cost of the grading, the superstructure, and the equipment of our roads was borne by those who had entered into the enterprise. . . . The true principle is to subject the commerce of every locality, to whatever burdens may be necessary to facilitate it. . . . This is again the broad principle of perfect equality and justice, and it is especially set forth and established in our new constitution. . . .

But not to be tedious in enumerating the numerous changes for the better, allow me to allude to one other though last, not least. The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution, African slavery as it exists amongst us – the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the “rock upon which the old Union would split.” He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted. The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with, but the general opinion of the men of that day was that, somehow or other in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away. This idea, though not incorporated in the constitution, was the prevailing idea at that time. The constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last, and hence no argument can be justly urged against the constitutional guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the government built upon it fell when the “storm came and the wind blew.” 1

Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science. It has been so even amongst us. Many who hear me, perhaps, can recollect well, that this truth was not generally admitted, even within their day. The errors of the past generation still clung to many as late as twenty years ago. Those at the North, who still cling to these errors, with a zeal above knowledge, we justly denominate fanatics. All fanaticism springs from an aberration of the mind from a defect in reasoning. It is a species of insanity. One of the most striking characteristics of insanity, in many instances, is forming correct conclusions from fancied or erroneous premises so with the anti-slavery fanatics. Their conclusions are right if their premises were. They assume that the negro is equal, and hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights with the white man. If their premises were correct, their conclusions would be logical and just but their premise being wrong, their whole argument fails. . . .

As I have stated, the truth of this principle may be slow in development, as all truths are and ever have been, in the various branches of science. . . . May we not, therefore, look with confidence to the ultimate universal acknowledgment of the truths upon which our system rests? It is the first government ever instituted upon the principles in strict conformity to nature, and the ordination of Providence, in furnishing the materials of human society. Many governments have been founded upon the principle of the subordination and serfdom of certain classes of the same race such were and are in violation of the laws of nature. Our system commits no such violation of nature’s laws. With us, all of the white race, however high or low, rich or poor, are equal in the eye of the law. Not so with the negro. Subordination is his place. He, by nature, or by the curse against Canaan, 2 is fitted for that condition which he occupies in our system. The architect, in the construction of buildings, lays the foundation with the proper material – the granite then comes the brick or the marble. The substratum of our society is made of the material fitted by nature for it, and by experience we know that it is best, not only for the superior, but for the inferior race, that it should be so. It is, indeed, in conformity with the ordinance of the Creator. It is not for us to inquire into the wisdom of His ordinances, or to question them. For His own purposes, He has made one race to differ from another, as He has made “one star to differ from another star in glory.” 3 The great objects of humanity are best attained when there is conformity to His laws and decrees, in the formation of governments as well as in all things else. Our confederacy is founded upon principles in strict conformity with these laws. This stone which was rejected by the first builders “is become the chief of the corner” 4 – the real “corner-stone” in our new edifice. I have been asked, what of the future? It has been apprehended by some that we would have arrayed against us the civilized world. I care not who or how many they may be against us, when we stand upon the eternal principles of truth, if we are true to ourselves and the principles for which we contend, we are obliged to, and must triumph. . . .

But to return to the question of the future. What is to be the result of this revolution? . . .

The process of disintegration in the old Union may be expected to go on with almost absolute certainty if we pursue the right course. We are now the nucleus of a growing power which, if we are true to ourselves, our destiny, and high mission, will become the controlling power on this continent. To what extent accessions will go on in the process of time, or where it will end, the future will determine. So far as it concerns States of the old Union, this process will be upon no such principles of reconstruction as now spoken of, but upon reorganization and new assimilation. Such are some of the glimpses of the future as I catch them. . . .

As to whether we shall have war with our late confederates, or whether all matters of differences between us shall be amicably settled, I can only say that the prospect for a peaceful adjustment is better, so far as I am informed, than it has been. The prospect of war is, at least, not so threatening as it has been. The idea of coercion, shadowed forth in President Lincoln’s inaugural, seems not to be followed up thus far so vigorously as was expected. Fort Sumter, it is believed, will soon be evacuated. What course will be pursued toward Fort Pickens, and the other forts on the gulf, is not so well understood. It is to be greatly desired that all of them should be surrendered. Our object is peace, not only with the North, but with the world. All matters relating to the public property, public liabilities of the Union when we were members of it, we are ready and willing to adjust and settle upon the principles of right, equity, and good faith. War can be of no more benefit to the North than to us. . . .

The surest way to secure peace, is to show your ability to maintain your rights. The principles and position of the present administration of the United States – the republican party – present some puzzling questions. While it is a fixed principle with them never to allow the increase of a foot of slave territory, they seem to be equally determined not to part with an inch “of the accursed soil.” Notwithstanding their clamor against the institution, they seemed to be equally opposed to getting more, or letting go what they have got. They were ready to fight on the accession of Texas, and are equally ready to fight now on her secession. Why is this? How can this strange paradox be accounted for? There seems to be but one rational solution and that is, notwithstanding their professions of humanity, they are disinclined to give up the benefits they derive from slave labor. Their philanthropy yields to their interest. The idea of enforcing the laws, has but one object, and that is a collection of the taxes, raised by slave labor to swell the fund necessary to meet their heavy appropriations.
. . .

Study Questions

A. Was the Civil War a conflict over the nature of the Union, or a conflict over the future expansion and legitimacy of slavery as an institution within the Union? Are there other causes raised in the documents that seem equally (or perhaps even more) significant than either of these? How would you explain the Southern understanding of the Union and slavery? How would you explain the Northern understanding of the Union and slavery? Which issue seems more significant to which section? How would you assess the causes of the war on the balance do they appear to be more about pragmatic policy considerations or philosophical conflicts?

B. How do the documents in the previous chapters hint at the developing issues that would lead to the Civil War? How is what the Southerners proposed in seceding different from what had been threatened in earlier conflicts between the states and the federal government?

C. How are the themes of this chapter rearticulated in later discussions of race and union in American history?

All equal under God

The most obvious reason for the abolition is the ethical concern of slavery. Being the biggest Christian empire at the time a lot of Britain’s higher-ups saw it as their duty to uphold and enforce Christian dogma.

Lobbyists such as William Wilberforce, an evangelical Christian, spearheaded the movement. The stepping stone of the movement, the Slave Trade Act of 1807, banned all slave trade within the empire although the institution of slavery was untouched.

It would take until 1833 for slavery to be outright banned throughout the empire. The Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 guaranteed freedom to any man on British soil. As compensation for the slave owners who lost all of their workers, the empire paid £20 million to keep them complacent. According to the Bank of England inflation calculator, in 2019 this would be worth £2,638,378,947.

With the decision made in 1833 also came the commitment of Britain to police the international slave trade. Royal Navy frigates were commissioned to patrol the Atlantic in search of slave traders.

The combination of maintaining the Royal Navy, paying off the slave owners and losing out on the cheap produce of slave labour put Britain into a lot of debt. Money had to be borrowed to pay for everything and only under David Cameron in 2015 was the debt paid off.

Historically, there are many different types of slavery including chattel, bonded, forced labour and sexual slavery. The key characteristics of slavery are ones generally agreed such as the loss of freedom of movement and legal rights.

In the ancient world, slavery developed for a number of reasons including economic necessity especially in civilizations and agricultural economies where larger workforces were needed. Domination was another factor. War produced not only spoils such as gold but also people to take as slaves which eventually also became a form of status symbol. The more slaves you had, the wealthier and more influential you were.

The oldest known slave society was the Mesopotamian and Sumerian civilisations located in the Iran/Iraq region between 6000-2000BCE. The oldest known written reference of slavery is found in the Hammurabi Code of 1754 BCE which states "If anyone take a male or female slave of the court, or a male or female slave of a freed man, outside the city gates, he shall be put to death."

Egypt was also another civilisation whose economy also depended on slavery. The relationship between slave and master was set down in law with some restrictions such as slave owners could not force child slaves to do unduly harsh physical labour. There were no slave markets and any transaction of buying or selling slaves had to be overseen by government officials. There is also the famous biblical narrative of the Exodus whereby the Israelites were led to freedom by Moses with archaeologists theorising that this may have happened in the New Kingdom period (1550-712 BC). This old testament narrative is one of the earliest known written record of slaves attaining freedom.

Ancient Greece could be argued to be the world’s first true ‘slave society’ whereby the majority of the economy was dependent on slave labour. Slaves made up a third of the total population with the wealthier classes viewing manual labour with distain. However, Ancient Greece did offer a form of manumission for slaves whereby they could buy their freedom or were freed at their master’s discretion. It wasn’t total freedom, as they never were legally allowed to become a full citizens and the majority were still obligated to provide some duties to their former masters. There is also some evidence of the ethics of slavery being questioned. One such case is Bishop Gregory of Nyssa who lived in the 4th century AD who argued that ‘slavery was incompatible with humanities creation in the image of God’.

With the decline of Greece and the expansion of Rome, slavery also expanded. At the height of the Roman empire up to 30% of the total population were enslaved with the majority being made up of conquered peoples. We also see the emergence of slavery used for ‘sport’ rather than labour such as gladiatorial fights and large-scale brothels. Slave revolts were not uncommon during this time. There were again strict rules around slavery and even harsher punishments for slaves who revolted. One such case included a slave who killed his master. As retribution, all the slaves in the master’s house were executed. Slaves during this period could also operate as skilled craftsmen and women such as hairdressers, painters and even tutors to young children. Rome differed from Greece in that freed slaves could become full legal Roman citizens with rights.

The fall of the Roman Empire led to what is commonly known as ‘the dark ages’ or medieval period. With the decline of the Roman empire came the loss of large-scale markets. We do not concretely know what happened to the large proportion of Roman slaves, presumably with the large-scale loss of the estate of the masters and ruling classes, slave prices crashed or slaves were simply left to their own devices. In Britain we can see a slow reorganisation of society after the Romans left and the emergence of serfdom much later. One interesting story is of an English slave called Balthild, who rose to be queen of the Frankish king Clovis II in the 7th Century. As Queen Regent for her young son, she abolished the trading of Christian slaves and freed all young child slaves.

During the Anglo-Saxon years slavery was still prevalent especially so when Vikings had invaded and conquered large parts of the island. Vikings left no written records (few could read nor write) but there is plenty of archaeological evidence of slave markets, the largest being in Dublin. Bristol also had a thriving Viking slave market years before becoming infamous with its links with the Transatlantic Slave trade. Viking slaves were mostly made up of captives or spoils of war or were simply kidnapped in raids. Slaves had absolutely no rights under the Vikings and were treated as little more (or less) than cattle and murdered at random for fun or part of rituals. Many slaves were beheaded and female slaves were frequently raped as pregnant slaves fetched higher prices at markets as a ‘2 for 1’ deal.

After the conquest of Britain by William the Conqueror in 1066, the Doomsday book was commissioned to survey the land for tax reasons. What also became apparent in this manuscript is that approximately 10% of the British population were classed as slaves. In 1102 the church condemned slavery, but it held no legislative power to act. Slave market still thrived but culturally the practice of slavery began to change with early abolitionists such as Bishop Wulfstan of Worcester who preached regularly to the crowds at Bristol to end the practice. By the 1200’s slavery by its old definition had completely died out in the British Isles.

With the decline of ‘traditional’ slavery, we see the emergence of Serfdom in the British Isles and in feudal Europe. Serfs were different to the previous definition of slaves as they were not classed a property and were entitled to protection and justice. However, they did not have free movement and had a debt-bondage to their Lord and legally tied to the land. They were forbidden to move without consent and in return for shelter they were required to pay tribute in the form of cash or labour. If they grew their own corn, they were legally obliged to pay the Lord to use the mill he owned to grind it. Serfdom continued for a few centuries until the ‘Black Death’ in the 14th Century. The ‘black death’ is the main catalyst for the decline of serfdom. With a reduced population and a high demand for workers, serfs found themselves in a position where they could negotiate for their freedom as well as their wages. The black death also transformed feudal lords into landlords with the end of feudal dues however, we still see serfdom survive in some places such as Eastern Europe and Russia until the 19th century.

Indentured servitude was another form of slavery that emerged much later during the colonial era. This was a form of contract whereby a person would enter a fixed term of servitude for a certain number of years. Prisoners could escape capital punishment and agree to become an indentured servant for a period of 7 years or more in the colonies or a person could enter this willingly in exchange for passage to the America’s. Usually it was the poorest of society who entered this form of debt-bondage. For the duration of their servitude they were bonded to their ‘master’. Their freedoms were restricted, they were forbidden to marry without consent, did not have freedom of movement and did not receive the level of justice in courts that a non-indentured person would receive. If a female indentured servant became pregnant during the contract, 9 months plus was added on at the end as she would not have been able to fulfil all that was required of her labour-wise.

This type of servitude (or ‘slavery’) carried on alongside the Transatlantic Slave Trade in the 17th, 18th and partly into the 19th centuries. With the decline of the workforce on indentured slaves, a new labour force had to be found which brings us to the most infamous of trades in Africa.
Slavery in Africa had been around for thousands of years and many rulers in Africa were keen to trade with Europeans for goods and materials not locally available such as tin and other metals. The Portuguese were the first ‘Western’ slavers in Africa and with Papal support captured the African port of Ceuta in 1415. Slave trading of native Africans was relatively small scale during the 15th century as the Portuguese and Spanish were enslaving the native populace in central and southern America. It was after these natives started to die out in large numbers of European diseases that they started to look for other sources of manual labour. Large scale sugar production started around the area of Brazil and it was this enterprise which could be argued to have kick started the Transatlantic Slave Trade. There were plenty of voices however who were against enslavement such Bartolomé de las Casas in the 1500’s.
Between the period of early 1400’s to the mid-17th Century, it was the Spanish and Portuguese who pioneered and dominated this slave trade. The British did not yet have any established and fully-fledged colonies until the mid to late 17th century and so looked for easier markets whilst Spain guarded the trade. Between 1570 to 1640, Britain only made 3 slave trading voyages (discounting any smuggling and privateering). Peace between Spain and Britain marked the beginning of Britain’s entry into full scale slave trading with the flourishing of British colonies in the Caribbean and Americas. However, most of the early slaves were not of African descent but European. 75% of 17th century emigrants were indentured servants.
As tobacco and sugar became products of mass consumption, the Royal African Company was founded in 1672 and had a monopoly on the trade which only ended in 1698. As this monopoly ended, the transatlantic slave trade began to be dominated by British merchants. Bristol was a major port for commerce for the trade (shipping goods to Africa in exchange for slaves and importing goods from the Americas) between 1720 – 1740 before Liverpool took over as the dominant port until abolition in the early 19th century. In total. 3.4 million Africans were taken from their homeland and shipped across the Atlantic. To read more on the British movement for Abolition click here

Other slave trades were also ongoing included the Barbary pirate raids on various European countries (including Britain). Ordinary people were taken forcibly from sea ports and villages and taken to northern Africa. It is estimated up to 1.2 million Europeans were enslaved between 1500 to 1900 and lost in the Ottoman empire. The trade declined after the United States, Great Britain and other European nations fought a war against the pirates in the early 19th century. It finally ended after France conquered and colonised the North African region.

Slavery soon disappeared from western nations throughout the 19th century and wasn’t fully outlawed globally until the 20th century with the UN resolution although a few further countries still kept the practice even up to the 1980’s. Sadly, slavery has evolved and disappeared into the shadows and people smuggling is still very much a lucrative trade well into the 21st Century with the majority of victims women involved in sex trafficking. It is estimated that there are currently 40million victims of slavery today.

When did the U.S. and other countries abolish slavery?

Contrary to what the post says, the U.S. is not the only country that ended slavery, nor was it the first to do so.

On Jan. 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation went into effect. This declared “all persons held as slaves … shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free." However, slavery was not formally abolished in the U.S. until 1865, after the ratification of the 13th Amendment.

The signature of President Abraham Lincoln on a rare, restored copy of the 13th Amendment that ended slavery. (Photo: Charles Rex Arbogast/AP)

Spain abolished slavery in 1811, while Sweden banned slave trading in 1813 and abolished slavery in 1847.

Slavery was abolished in Mexico in 1829, when Texas was still part of that country. The decision in part prompted slave holders to fight for the independence of Texas. Once the Republic of Texas was formed, slavery became legal again and remained legal when it became a U.S. state in 1845.

Britain passed its Slavery Abolition Act in 1833, which went into effect in August of 1834. The act freed more than 800,000 slaves in the Caribbean, South Africa and Canada.

France banned slave trading in 1817, but the ban wasn't effective until 1826. The country abolished slavery in 1848.

And in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, stating, "No one shall be held in slavery or servitude slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.”

The pier has been a long-standing attraction of the beach since 1953. Since then, mother-nature took its course damaging the pier five times. Four years ago residents witnessed the latest hurricane damage. “In October 2016, Hurricane Matthew destroyed almost 50% of the pier,” Surfside Mayor Bob Hellyer explained.

Vereen Memorial Historical Gardens

  1. Vereen Memorial Historical Gardens. Little River.
  2. Horry County Museum. Photo courtesy of Horry County Museum.
  3. Pavilion Nostalgia Park.
  4. South Carolina Hall of Fame.
  5. Franklin G Burroughs – Simeon B Chapin Art Museum.
  6. Family Kingdom.
  7. Barefoot Landing.
  8. The Market Common, Myrtle Beach.

Watch the video: 2 Οι Έλληνες κατακτούν τους Ρωμαίους με τον πολιτισμό τους


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