The Learning Curve

New tricks for an old dog.

A painful fact of U. S. history.

A PAINFUL TRUTH OF U.S. history. Part of the reason the colonies rebelled against King George III was to preserve the institution of slavery. Although slavery was not totally abolished throughout the British Empire until the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, as early as 1701 the Lord Chief Justice ruled that a slave became free as soon as he or she arrived in England. Russia abolished slavery in 1723 and Portugal did likewise in 1761.

In 1772, in England, Somersett’s case was generally taken at the time to have decided that the condition of slavery did not exist under English law in England and Wales, and emancipated the remaining ten to fourteen thousand slaves or possible slaves in England and Wales, who were mostly domestic servants. In 1775 the Pennsylvania Abolition Society was formed in Philadelphia. It was the first abolition society in America.

All this was all  before the American Declaration of Independence of 1776, and the international forces moving toward ending slavery, especially in the British Empire, were obvious to Southern plantation owners.

American slave-owners could see the handwriting on the wall if the colonies remained under British rule. And it should be recalled that the slave states, including Virginia, had the greatest power and influence in the colonies. One can easily appreciate Dr. Johnson’s famous quip that “we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes.” – Noam Chomsky

This is not to diminish the nobility of the American Revolution, or its lofty ideals and rhetoric, is is simply to point out that it, like everything else in this world, was not totally selfless and pure.


Written by Tom Fox

07/23/2012 at 9:06 pm

Posted in History

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