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The problem of slavery in Western culture

Author: David Brion Davis; Frank and Virginia Williams Collection of Lincolniana (Mississippi State University. Libraries)
Publisher: Ithaca, N.Y. : Cornell University Press, 1966.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
This classic study by David Brion Davis has given new direction to the historical and sociological research of society's attitude towards slavery. Davis depicts the various ways different societies have responded to the intrinsic contradictions of slavery from antiquity to the early 1770's in order to establish the uniqueness of the abolitionists' response. While slavery has always caused considerable social and  Read more...
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Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: David Brion Davis; Frank and Virginia Williams Collection of Lincolniana (Mississippi State University. Libraries)
ISBN: 0801401011 9780801401015
OCLC Number: 261744
Awards: Pulitzer Prize, General Nonfiction, 1967.
Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, 1967.
Pulitizer Prize for General Nonfiction, 1967.
Description: xiv, 505 pages ; 24 cm
Contents: PART I. 1. The historical problem: slavery and the meaning of America ---
2. Patterns of continuity in the history of servitude ---
3. Slavery and sin: the ancient legacy ---
4. The response to slavery in Medieval and early modern thought ----
PART II. 5. Changing views on the value and dangers of American slavery ---
6. The legitimacy of enslavement and the ideal of the Christian servant: moral doubts and rationalizations ---
7. The legitimacy of enslavement and the ideal of the Christian servant: the failure of Christianization ---
8. The continuing contradiction of slavery: a comparison of British America and Latin America ---
9. The continuing contradiction of slavery: emancipation, intermixture, and prejudice ----
PART III. 10. Religious sources of antislavery thought: Quakers and the sectarian tradition ---
11. Religious sources of antislavery thought: the "man of feeling" in the best of worlds ---
12. Religious sources of antislavery thought: collective guilt, private opinion, and commitment ---
13. The Enlightenment as a source of antislavery thought: the ambivalence of rationalism ---
14. The Enlightenment as a source of antislavery thought: utility and natural law ---
15. The changing image of the Negro ----
Epilogue : John Woolman's prophecy.
Responsibility: David Brion Davis.

Abstract:

This classic study by David Brion Davis has given new direction to the historical and sociological research of society's attitude towards slavery. Davis depicts the various ways different societies have responded to the intrinsic contradictions of slavery from antiquity to the early 1770's in order to establish the uniqueness of the abolitionists' response. While slavery has always caused considerable social and psychological tension, Western culture has associated it with certain religious and philosophical doctrines that gave it the highest sanction. The contradiction of slavery grew more profound when it became closely linked with American colonization, which had as its basic foundation the desire and opportunity to create a more perfect society. Davis provides a comparative analysis of slave systems in the Old World, a discussion of the early attitudes towards American slavery, and a detailed exploration of the early protests against Negro bondage, as well as the religious, literary, and philosophical developments that contributed to both sides in the controversies of the late eighteenth century. This exemplary introduction to the history of slavery in Western culture presents the traditions in thought and value that gave rise to the attitudes of both abolitionists and defenders of slavery in the late eighteenth century as well as the nineteenth century.-- Publisher description.

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