Debating the Slave Trade (Ashgate Series in by Srividhya Swaminathan

By Srividhya Swaminathan

How did the arguments constructed within the debate to abolish the slave exchange support to build a British nationwide identification and personality within the past due eighteenth century? Srividhya Swaminathan examines books, pamphlets, and literary works to track the alterations in rhetorical options used by each side of the abolitionist debate. Framing them as competing narratives engaged in defining the character of the Briton, Swaminathan reads the arguments of professional- and anti-abolitionists as a sequence of dialogs between diversified teams on the middle and peripheries of the empire. Arguing that neither facet emerged successful, Swaminathan means that the Briton who emerged from those debates represented a synthesis of arguments, and that the debates to abolish the slave exchange are marked via rhetorical alterations defining a twin of the Briton as person who led evidently to nineteenth-century imperialism and a feeling of world superiority. as the slave-trade debates have been waged overtly in print instead of in the back of the closed doorways of Parliament, they exerted a unique effect at the British public. At their peak, among 1788 and 1793, courses numbered within the hundreds and hundreds, spanned each style, and circulated during the empire. one of the voices represented are writers from each side of the Atlantic in conversation with each other, akin to key African authors like Ignatius Sancho, Phillis Wheatley, and Olaudah Equiano; West India planters and retailers; and Quaker activist Anthony Benezet. all through, Swaminathan deals clean and nuanced readings that eschew the view that the abolition of the slave alternate used to be inevitable or that the last word defeat of pro-slavery advocates was once absolute.

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Extra resources for Debating the Slave Trade (Ashgate Series in Nineteenth-Century Transatlantic Studies)

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H is vision for G reat B ritain’s future involved a greater emphasis on trade and commerce, with minimal governmental restrictions. Smith favored a capitalist economy that would allow for the free and “unfettered” play of market forces in setting prices for commodities. H e strongly denounced pricefixing and advocated the more equitable economics of supply and demand, which would allow commodity prices to stabilize without government interference and according to the demands of consumers. In a sense, Smith’s theories threatened See, for example, Seymour Drescher, Econocide: British Slavery in the Era of Abolition (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1977).

28 T his revolution threatened the social order in much more tangible ways because of G reat B ritain’s proximity to France and its own tumultuous history with civil war. R eports of the bloodshed and the persistent calls to action traveled quickly across the E nglish Channel. T he visible presence of aristocratic refugees offered a vivid and constant reminder of the powerful belief in liberty that instigated treasonous actions. ” Using the ideological principles of “liberté, égalité, and fraternité” to justify the bloody overthrow of the French monarchy horrified the B ritish aristocracy who fully recognized the tenuousness of its own position.

Government subsidies and price-fixing of commodities, such as sugar, incited economists to a flurry of critique. The most influential of these economists was A dam Smith whose Wealth of Nations (1776) revolutionized public perceptions of the market and of labor. H is vision for G reat B ritain’s future involved a greater emphasis on trade and commerce, with minimal governmental restrictions. Smith favored a capitalist economy that would allow for the free and “unfettered” play of market forces in setting prices for commodities.

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