Early Influences on Abolitionism: Revolutionary Ideas
In the late 18th century an age of revolution began to bring ideas about equal rights to the forefront, ideas that became a powerful force against slavery in the Atlantic world. In the past, servitude and slavery had been taken for granted as part of a class system where the rich dominated the poor and those of the lower classes were prevented from social advancement. But the Industrial Revolution, which brought increased economic opportunity and power to the lower and middle classes, began to undermine this system. Also, an 18th-century European intellectual movement known as the Age of Enlightenment asserted that all human beings had natural rights. The American Revolution (1775-1783) and the French Revolution (1789-1799), widely seen as revolutions by citizens against oppressive rulers, transformed this Enlightenment assertion into a call for universal liberty and freedom.
The successful slave revolt that began in the French colony of Saint-Domingue in 1791 was part of this revolutionary age. Led by François Dominique Toussaint Louverture, black rebels overthrew the colonial government, ended slavery in the colony, and in 1804 established the republic of Haiti, the first independent black republic in the world (see Haitian Slave Revolt). The revolt frightened slaveholders everywhere, inspired other slaves and free blacks to action, and convinced religiously motivated whites that only peaceful emancipation could prevent more bloodshed.
- Early Influences on Abolitionism: An overview (egrejeen.wordpress.com)
- Age of Enlightenment: A Method of Thought (egrejeen.wordpress.com)
- African American History: American Revolution (The Ideals of the Revolution) (egrejeen.wordpress.com)
- African American History: American Revolution (The Concentration of Slavery in the South) (egrejeen.wordpress.com)