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South Carolina planter and merchant, Henry Laurens was one of the richest men in colonial America. He amassed a fortune through buying and selling African slaves. Before the American Revolution, over 40% of Africans who survived transport to the [...]
This illustration from an abolitionist book was a variation on the original 1787 seal of the British Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. The original organization symbol, showing a supplicant male slave, was designed by the famous British [...]
The campaign to abolish the Atlantic slave trade first emerged during the 1780s in Great Britain. Although slavery was not widespread in Britain, its merchants had long dominated the trade and helped to promote slavery throughout European colonies [...]
This chart shows detailed information about the voyage of the Brookes, a British slave ship documented by the abolitionist Thomas Clarkson as part of the evidence he presented to Parliament in 1788 in an effort to demonstrate the horrors that [...]
"To the Right Honourable William, Earl of Dartmouth, His Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for North America &c."
Phillis Wheatley, the first published African-American poet, was also the second woman in colonial America to publish a book on any subject. Born in Gambia, where she was taken into slavery, Wheatley was sold to the Wheatleys, a prosperous Boston [...]
Throughout the revolutionary era, scores of slaves signed petitions that linked their demands for freedom with the cause of American independence. Below is the text of one such petition presented to the Massachusetts legislature.
The first national census showed a total population of 3.9 million people. The results, gathered by U.S. marshals on horseback, were divided into categories of "free white males of 16 years and upwards," "free white males under fifteen years," "free [...]
The passage below was included in Thomas Jefferson's first draft of the Declaration of Independence as one of the grievances against King George III of England. Jefferson, a slave owner himself, later wrote in his autobiography that this passage [...]
Slavery was one of the most divisive issues in the debates over whether or not to ratify the Constitution. Although the constitution banned the importation of slaves beginning in 1808, it did not restrict the continued use and ownership of slaves, [...]
In the American South, slaves were typically dispersed among large populations of armed and vigilant whites. As a result, there were few large-scale, armed slave rebellions there. This was not the case in the West Indies, where plantation owners [...]