The Abolition Of Chattel Slavery Essay

1015 Words Apr 18th, 2016 5 Pages
Among the revolutionary processes that transformed the nineteenth-century world, none was so dramatic in its human consequences or far-reaching in its social implications as the abolition of chattel slavery. Whether accomplished by black revolution, legislation, or civil war, emancipation not only eliminated an institution increasingly at odds with the moral sensibility of the age, but raised intractable questions about the system of economic organization and social relations that would replace slavery. Especially in the Western Hemisphere, plantation slavery was simultaneously a system of labor, a mode of racial domination, and the foundation upon which arose a distinctive ruling class. As a result, its demise threw open the most fundamental questions of economy, society, and polity. And in all post emancipation societies, the pivot on which social conflict turned was the new status of the former slave. The chapters that follow explore at three levels of analysis— international, regional, and local—some of the consequences of emancipation.

At first glance, the scale, manner, and consequences of emancipation in the United States appear historically unique. The nearly four million slaves liberated in this country far outnumbered those in the Caribbean and Latin America. Although no abolition was entirely without violence, only in Haiti and the United States did the end of slavery result from terrible wars in which armed blacks played a crucial part. The economies of the…

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