LTP News Sharing:
Slavery did not start in 1619.
It began with kings.
Whenever you had the first king on top you had slaves on the bottom.
From the beginning of recorded history, Kings fought battles.
When kings were victorious, they considered themselves merciful if they did not kill all of their defeated enemies.
All ancient cultures made slaves of those captured in battle, as seen in Babylon, Persia, Greece, China, India, and Africa.
The ancient King of Sumer, Ur-Nammu, inscribed a Sumerian law code, c.2050 B.C., defining the classes of society, where slaves were on the bottom:
- King = “lugal”
- Free person = “lu“
- Male slave = “arad”
- Female slave = “geme”
The King of Babylon, Hammurabi, a contemporary of Abraham, devised a code c.1795-1750 B.C.
The code dispensed increasing degrees of punishment depending on the class:
- Male Nobles
- Wives & Children of Nobles
Hammurabi’s Code had law number 282:
“If a slave say to his master: ‘You are not my master,’ if they convict him his master shall cut off his ear.”
In the second millennium BC, during the Xia, Shang (Yin), and Zhou Dynasties, slaves were called “jianmin,” which means “base mankind”; and “nuli,” which means “debtor.”
Some slaves were used for ritual sacrifices.
The sons of Jacob sold their younger brother, Joseph, into slavery.
Genesis 37: “Judah asked his brothers, ‘What will we gain by killing our brother and covering up his death? Let’s sell him to the Ishamaelites … And his brothers agreed.”
Powerful Pharaohs of Egypt made the Israelites slaves for four hundred years, c.1800-1400 B.C.
Beginning around 1500 B.C., India began developing a caste system, where on the bottom the untouchable “Dalits” were effectively a slave class:
- Bhramin – priests, academics;
- Kshatryia – warriors, kings;
- Vaishya – merchants, landowners;
- Sudra – commoners, peasants, servants;
- Dalits – untouchables, out-caste, street sweepers, garbage collectors, latrine cleaners.
Zedekiah, the King of Judah from c.597-586, had everyone free their slaves, but later forced them back into slavery.
The Prophet Jeremiah recorded (chapter 34):
“The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people … that everyone should set free his male and female slaves … They obeyed and let them go.
But afterward they changed their minds and made the male and female slaves return …
… Therefore the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah … saying …
You turned around and profaned My name, and every one of you brought back his male and female slaves, whom you had set at liberty … Behold, I proclaim liberty to you,’ says the Lord—‘to the sword. And I will give Zedekiah king of Judah and his princes into the hand of their enemies, into the hand of those who seek their life, and into the hand of the king of Babylon’s army.”
Ancient Greeks enslaved captives from war.
The population of Athens was estimated to have been from 10 to 40 percent slaves.
In the city of Thessaly, the slaves were called “penestae,” a class of unfree laborers.
Slaves in Sparta were called “helots,” and slaves on the Island of Crete were called “doulus.”
Julius Caesar conquered in Gaul and brought so many captured “slavic” peoples into to Rome that the term “slav” gained the connotation of permanent servant – “slave.”
Over half of Rome’s population were slaves.
The famous Greek Orthodox account is that around c.400 A.D., a bankrupt merchant in the town of Patara, Asia Minor, was about to have creditors seize his three daughters and sell them into sex-slavery. St. Nicholas threw money in the window to provide a dowry for the daughters to get married and be free from the wicked creditors.
Another form of slavery was generational indebtedness, spread by Roman Emperor Diocletian.
In the 3rd and 4th century, the Roman economy became so bad that people who were unable to pay their mortgages would simply abandon their properties, renounce their Roman citizenship, and go off to live with the barbarians.
To stop this, Diocletian made it a law that people could never run away from their debts — thus tying them and their children to the land in perpetuity, creating the feudal system.
This is essentially the case in India, with rural peasant farming families inheriting ancient indebtedness.
The Royal Commission on Agriculture described that India’s farmer “is born in debt, lives in debt and dies in debt.”
A more recent example of inescapable debt is that of young people in America locked into trillions of dollars of student loan debt that they can never escape:
- Huffinton Post (5/08/15): “Obama Administration Improperly Denies Student Loan Debt Relief.”
- The Hill (5/13/16): “President Obama’s horrible, terrible legacy on student loans”: “(His) lawyers fight furiously behind the scenes to keep bankruptcy protections gone from student loans.”
- Buzzfeed (2/9/19) “Student Debt is Dragging a Whole Generation Down – Here’s Why So Many Americans Feel Cheated by Their Student Loans”;
- TIME Magazine (2/9/12) “Why You Can’t Discharge Student Loans in Bankruptcy”;
- National Consumer Law Center (June 2006) “No Way Out: Student Loans, Financial Distress, and the Need for Policy Reform”;
- Rolling Stone (8/15/13) “Ripping Off Young America: The College-Loan Scandal”: “Congress almost completely stripped students of their right to disgorge their debts through bankruptcy (amazing, when one considers that even gamblers can declare bankruptcy!)”
In the 5th century AD, marauding invaders kidnapped Patrick from Britain and sold him as a slave to the Druid pagans in Ireland.
Decades later, after evangelizing Ireland, St. Patrick wrote a letter condemning the Brittonic warlord, King Coroticus, who was kidnapping Irish that Patrick had converted to Christianity and selling them into slavery.
St. Patrick’s “Letter to Coroticus” is considered one of the first anti-slavery documents:
“Thy sheep around me are torn to pieces and driven away, and that by those robbers, by the orders of the hostile-minded Coroticus … a man who hands over Christians to the Picts and Scots …
Ravening wolves have devoured the flock of the Lord … You sell them to a foreign nation that has no knowledge of God. You betray the members of Christ as it were into a brothel …
People who were freeborn have been sold, Christians made slaves, and that, too, in the service of the abominable, wicked, and apostate Picts!”
During the Viking Age, 793 to 1096, Viking warriors sailed up rivers across Europe at attacked, killing men and carrying away thousands of Christian women as captives.
Various Qur’an verses and hadiths described Mohammed as a white Arab who owned slaves.
Qur’an verse 33:50:
“Prophet, We have made lawful to you … the slave girls whom Allah has given you as booty.”
Hadith al-Bukhari, Vol. 1, Book 3, No. 63: “’Who amongst you is Muhammad?’ At that time the Prophet was sitting amongst us leaning on his arm. We replied, ‘This white man reclining on his arm.’”
Hadith al-Bukhari, Vol. 4, Book 56, No. 744:
“’I saw the Prophet, and Al-Hasan bin Ali resembled him.’ I said to Abu-Juhaifa, ‘Describe him for me.’ He said, ‘He was white and his beard was black with some white hair.’”
Hadith al-Bukhari, Vol. 2, Book 17, No. 141:
“The Prophet never raised his hands for any invocation except for that of Istisqa’ and he used to raise them so much that the whiteness of his armpits became visible.”
Hadith al-Bukhari, Vol. 1, Book 8, No. 367:
“The Prophet rode and Abu Talha rode too and I was riding behind Abu Talha. The Prophet passed through the lane of Khaibar quickly and my knee was touching the thigh of the Prophet. He uncovered his thigh and I saw the whiteness of the thigh of the Prophet.”
Hadith al-Bukhari, Vol. 2, Book 17, No. 122:
“I heard Ibn ‘Umar reciting the poetic verses of Abu Talib: And a white (person) (i.e. the Prophet) who is requested to pray for rain.”
The timeline of slavery added a new chapter in 711 AD, when Muslim Moors conquered Spain, then invaded Portugal and France, followed by raids the coasts of Italy, Greece and the Mediterranean.
In 1189, Muslim warriors raided Lisbon, Portugal, and enslaved 3,000 women and children.
In 1191, Muslims attacked Silves, Portugal, and enslaved 3,000.
When Saladin captured Jerusalem, according to Imad al-Din, approximately 7,000 men and 8,000 women were unable to pay a ransom so they were enslaved.
Over a million Europeans were carried off into Islamic slavery.
Medieval Catholic religious orders of Trinitarians or Mathurins would collect donations to ransom people from Muslim slavery.
In 1605, St. Vincent De Paul was captured by Muslim pirates and enslaved.
He witnessed to his master who converted, and after several years, allowed him to escape back to France, where he founded hospitals and an organization to ransom slaves.
Muslim raiders enslaved an estimated 180 million Africans over its 1,400 year expansion.
The same Arabic word was used for for African and slave — “Abeed.”
Male African slaves were often castrated and female African slaves often sold into harems.
Twice as many women were sold in the Arab slave trade than men.
Muslim slave markets existed in:
- North Africa:
Tangier (Morocco), Marrakesh (Morocco). Algiers (Algeria). Tripoli (Libya), Cairo (Egypt), Aswan (Egypt), Khartoum, (Sudan);
- West Africa:
Aoudaghost (Mauritania), Timbuktu (Mali), Gao (Mali), Bilma (Niger), Kano (Nigeria);
- Swahili Coast:
Bagamoyo (Tanzania), Zanzibar (Tanzania), Kilwa (Tanzania), Sofala (Beira, Mozambique), Mombasa (Kenya);
- Horn of Africa:
Assab (Eritrea), Massawa (Eritrea), Nefasit (Eritrea), Tadjoura (Djibouti), Zeila (Somalia), Mogadishu (Somalia), Kismayo (Somalia);
- Arabian Peninsula:
Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), Zabīd (Yemen), Muscat (Oman), Aden (Yemen), Socotra (Indian Ocean);
- Indian Ocean:
Debal (Sindh, Pakistan), Karachi (Sindh, Pakistan), Janjira (India), Surat (India), Mandvi, Kutch (India).
Jeddiah Morse’s The American Geography, 1792):
“The island Madagascar … has several petty savage kings of its own, both Arabs and Negroes, who making war on each other, sell their prisoners for slaves to the shipping which call here, taking clothes, utensils and other necessaries in return.”
Missionary-explorer David Livingstone witnessed thousands of Africans shackled together and being forced to march hundreds of miles to the Arab slave markets, which called “a monster brooding over Africa.”
“If my disclosures regarding the terrible Ujijian slavery should lead to the suppression of the East Coast slave trade, I shall regard that as a greater matter by far than the discovery of all the Nile sources together.”
The Ashanti tribal chief was notorious for selling Africans into slavery, some for ritual sacrifice.
Abolitionist movements were difficult in sharia Islamic countries as they could be interpreted as an indirect condemnation of Mohammed and the Rightly Guided Caliphs, as they owned slaves.
Slavery was a significant part of the Ottoman Empire economy for centuries, until it was ended by Ataturk, founder in 1923 of the modern Republic of Turkey.
“The purpose of the religion founded by Muhammad, over all nations, was to drag (them into) Arab national politics … (It) might have suited tribes in the desert. It is no good for a modern, progressive state.”
In pre-Columbian America, warring tribes would enslave captives, sometimes using them in ritual sacrifice and cannibalism.
Yahoo News reported (December 20. 2020):
“Photos show a tower of human skulls found beneath Mexico City. The Aztecs ritually sacrificed them, archaeologists say.”
The Inca Empire had a system of mandatory public service known as mita, similar to the Aztec’s tlacotin.
Many North American tribes made slaves of captured tribes.
- Comanche of Texas;
- Creek of Georgia;
- Yurok in Northern California; Pawnee in the Plains;
- Klamath of Oregon;
- Haida & Tlingit of Alaska;
- Some Pacific Northwest tribes 1/4th of population were slaves.
- Cheyenne mastered horses left by Spanish, then attacked & enslaved other plains tribes.
In 1526, Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón explored the eastern coast of America as far north as Delaware Bay, then, somewhere near Sapelo Sound, Georgia.
With 600, settlers, of which 100 were African slaves, he attempted a settlement named San Miguel de Gualdape.
The Dominican friars who accompanying them celebrated the first recorded Catholic Mass in what would later be the United States.
Unfortunately, that winter, two-thirds of the settlers died of disease, including Ayllón.
The African slaves rebelled and ran off to live with the native tribe of Guales, becoming the first non-natives settlers in North America.
Another early account was in 1528. Pánfilo de Narváez and Cabeza de Vaca led an expedition of 400 settlers to establish a settlement in Florida.
Battered in a hurricane, they were shipwrecked near St. Petersburg.
Natives misled, betrayed, and ambushed them.
One member of the expedition, Juan Ortiz, was captured and enslaved by the Tocobaga tribe, being rescued 12 years later by De Soto’s expedition. His story was related in the Discovery and Conquest of Terra Florida by a Gentleman of Elvas (1557), translated into English by Richard Hakluyt-the younger (1611:
“This Christian’s name was John Ortiz, and he was born in Seville … He was twelve years in the hands of the Indians … He came … with … Narvaez … to Florida … A great number of Indians, which compassed them about, and took them in a place where they could not flee; and the others … they presently killed …
They took John Ortiz alive, and carried him to Ucita their lord … Ucita commanded to bind John Ortiz hand and foot upon four stakes aloft upon a raft, and to make a fire under him, that there he might be burned.
But a daughter of his desired him that he would not put him to death, alleging … that it was more for his honor to keep him as a captive …
John Ortiz … notice … the damsel that had delivered him from the fire, how her father was determined to sacrifice him … She went with him half a league out of the town by night, and set him in the way, and returned, because she would not be discovered. John Ortiz travailed all the night, and by the morning came unto a river.” The surviving 80 members of the Narváez expedition returned to the Tampa Bay coast.
They salvaged their wrecked vessel and fashioned it into two rafts, using deer skins for bellows to blow air into the fire, making it hot enough to forge metal nails.
They floated along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico to the mouth of the Mississippi River, where they were suddenly swept out hundreds of miles.
Narváez was never found, and Cabeza de Vaca, with two dozen others, were shipwrecked near present day Galveston, where they were enslaved by natives.
Four found an opportunity to escape:
- Cabeza de Vaca,
- Andrés Dorantes de Carranza,
- Alonso del Castillo Maldonado, and
- Estevanico, or Esteban, a Moroccan Berber slave who is assumed to have been baptized a Christian by virtue of his Christian name Esteban, or Stephen.
They traveled through the areas of Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and the Mexican states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo León and Coahuila.
Cabeza de Vaca preached the Gospel and prayed Christian prayers for sick natives to be healed, with reports of miraculous recoveries. Gaining a reputation as a “faith healer,” the Indians let him travel freely.
Cabeza de Vaca and his companions came down the coast of the Gulf of California to Sinaloa, then finally to Mexico City in 1536, eight years after the expedition began. Cabeza de Vaca sailed back to Spain.
He later returned to the New World in 1540, as governor of New Andalusia (Argentina), where he helped settle Buenas Aires.
When Spain conquered the New World in the early 1500’s, conquistadors deposed Indian government leaders and ruled in their stead.
In the Inca Empire, where native populations had been trained to obey government orders, they willingly obeyed their new Spanish leaders, even though it often meant dying in forced labor such as in the Potosi silver mines.
Spaniards set up a system called encomienda or repartimiento, which was similar to feudal France’s Corvée “unfree labour.”
Priests like Bartolomé de las Casas and the Franciscan Friars, together with Papal Bulls, fought to end the enslavement of native Americans.
Unfortunately, those wanting to continue slavery sought to replace the freed natives with African slaves purchased from Muslim slave markets.
The first African slaves brought to the English colony of Virginia came on a Dutch ship in 1619.
Over the next two centuries, the number of slaves tragically grew from “20 and odd” to an estimated 4 million by 1860.
Originally, African slaves brought to Virginia served seven years and then were freed. Anthony Johnson was a black indentured slave from Angola who arrived in Virginia in 1621. He completed his indentured service and gained his freedom. He then became one of the first Africans to own property in America.
Acquiring a 250 acre tobacco plantation, he owned four white slaves and one black slave, John Casor. After seven years, Casor left and began working as a free man on another farm.
In 1655, Anthony Johnson brought a lawsuit and won to keep Casor a slave indefinitely. This made John Casor one of the first person of African descent in the 13 English Colonies to be a slave for life.
Another early slave was John Punch, ancestor of Ralph Bunche, the first African-American to win the Nobel Peace Prize, for negotiating international recognition of the new State of Israel in 1948.
A lesser known chapters of slaves brought to America occurred in the 1600s when King James I, and later Charles I and Oliver Cromwell, sold over 500,000 Irish Catholics into slavery onto plantations in the West Indies, Antigua, Montserrat, Jamaica, Barbados, as well as Virginia and New England.
Historian Will Durant wrote in The Story of Civilization:
“The Irish scene was one of the most shameful in history.”
Dr. Thomas Sowell, a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution in Stanford, California, wrote in the article “Irresponsible Education” (Oct. 14, 2014):
“More whites were brought as slaves to North Africa than blacks brought as slaves to the United States, or to the 13 colonies from which it was formed.
White slaves were still being bought and sold in the Ottoman Empire decades after blacks were freed in the United States.”
Poor Europeans sold themselves as “indentured servants” — a temporary slavery — for seven years, in exchange for transportation to America.
A second wave of Irish came to America between 1714-1756.
Thousands of oppressed Irish sold themselves as indentured slaves in return for passage, usually to Pennsylvania, hoping to take advantage of William Penn’s promise of toleration.
There are many accounts of Indian tribes who would take captives from other tribes and sell them into slavery.
Sacagawea, a Lemhi Shoshone, was captured by the Hidatsa people and sold to the Frenchman Toussaint Charbonneau, who accompanied Lewis and Clark on their explorations.
William Clark was accompanied by York, an African slave, on Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery.
Some Native Americans owned African slaves.
In 1842, there was an African slave revolt in Cherokee Territory.
After colonial conflicts with American Indians, some were sold into slavery in the West Indies.
The abolitionist movement was birthed out of Christianity.
Christian missionaries and movements, especially Quakers, Moravians, and Methodists, were the continual voice of conscience against slavery.
Some Swedish and Dutch settlers had slaves in what was to become Pennsylvania.
After the land was acquired by King Charles II and given to William Penn as Pennsylvania, there began the movement to abolish slavery.
In 1683, Pietist Lutherans and Mennonites from Germany purchased land from William Penn and settled Germantown, Pennsylvania.
Embracing Quakerism, German settlers Francis Daniel Pastorius and three others, submitted the 1688 Germantown Quaker Petition Against Slavery, the first American document protesting slavery:
“How fearful and fainthearted are many on sea, when they see a strange vessel, -being afraid it should be a Turk, and they should be taken, and sold for slaves into Turkey.
Now what is this better done, as Turks do? Yea, rather it is worse for them, which say they are Christians; for we hear that ye most part of such negroes are brought hither against their will and consent, and that many of them are stolen …
There is a saying that we shall do to all men like as we will be done ourselves; making no difference of what generation, descent or color they are.
And those who steal or rob men, and those who buy or purchase them, are they not all alike?
… Here is liberty of conscience which is right and reasonable; here ought to be liberty of ye body …
But to bring men hither, or to rob and sell them against their will, we stand against.
In Europe there are many oppressed for conscience sake; and here there are those oppressed which are of a black color …
This makes an ill report in all those countries of Europe, where they hear of, that ye Quakers do here handle men as they handle there ye cattle …
We … are against this traffic of men-body. And we who profess that is is not lawful to steal, must, likewise, avoid to purchase such things as are stolen …
Then is Pennsylvania to have a good report … in what manner ye Quakers do rule in their province.”
In the early 1700s, many colonies tried to end slavery but Queen Anne would not allow it, as she was part owner of the Royal African Company, and the South Sea Company, which, after the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713, was granted an Asiento de Negros, supplying 4,800 slaves per year to the Spanish colonies throug Buenos Aires, Caracas, Havana, Panama, Portobello, Vera Cruz, and Jamaica. The Queen of England and the King of Spain split half the profits.
Anthony Benezet, a Protestant Christian Huguenot who fled persecution in France, joined the Quakers in Philadelphia.
In 1750, he began a school in his home to teach slave children to read. He also advocated for Indian Natives and started the first school for girls in America in 1754.
In 1758, at the yearly Quaker Meeting in Philadelphia, Anthony Benezet and Quaker John Woolman, convinced their membership to publicly oppose slavery.
In 1766, Benezet wrote in “Warning to Great Britain … of the Calamitous State of the Enslaved Negroes” that:
“Slavery … contradicted the precepts and example of Christ? …
Bondage … imposed on the Africans, is absolutely repugnant to justice … shocking to humanity, violative of every generous sentiment, abhorrent utterly from the Christian religion.”
In 1770, Anthony Benezet led Quakers to found the Negro School at Philadelphia, being encouraged by both Ben Franklin and Methodist founder John Wesley.
In 1775, Anthony Benezet helped found the Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage, with 17 of the 24 founders being Quakers. It was the first society in America dedicated to abolishing slavery.
In 1784, its name was changed to Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery & the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage.
In 1787, Ben Franklin became its president.
In 1772, Benezet condemned slavery in his tract “Account of Guinea … An Inquiry into the Rise & Progress of the Slave Trade, Its Nature & Lamentable Effects.”
After reading Benezet’s writing, Patrick Henry came under conviction, writing to Robert Pleasants in 1773:
“I take this opportunity to acknowledge ye receipt of Anthony Benezet’s book against the slave trade. I thank you for it. Would any one believe that I am a master of slaves of my own purchase? I am drawn along by ye general inconvenience of living without them; I will not, I cannot justify it.”
Patrick Henry became one of the most out-spoken Virginia founding fathers in actively condemning slavery, as being “inconsistent with the Bible, and destructive to morality.”
In 1778, he successful lobbied the Virginia Legislature to cease the importation of slaves.
Jefferson wrote that Henry was “even more determined in his opposition to slavery then the rest of us.”
Anthony Benezet’s English anti-slavery associate was Thomas Clarkson, a student at Cambridge University who was honored with first prize for writing “An Essay on the Slavery and Commerce of the Human Species,” 1785, in which he wrote:
“Slavery is … a crime, which being both of individuals and the nation, must sometime draw down upon us the heaviest judgment of Almighty God, who made of one blood all the sons of men, and who gave to all equally a natural right to liberty.”
In 1764, James Otis wrote in “The Rights of the British Colonies Asserted and Proved”:
“The grant of GOD Almighty … has given to all men a natural right to be free …
Colonists … are men, the common children of the same Creator …
Nature has placed all such in a state of equality and perfect freedom to act within the bounds of the laws of nature and reason …
Colonists are by the law of nature freeborn, as indeed all men are, white or black.
No better reasons can be given for enslaving those of any color than such as Baron Montesquieu has humorously given as the foundation of that cruel slavery exercised over the poor Ethiopians, which threatens one day to reduce both Europe and America to the ignorance and barbarity of the darkest ages.
… Does it follow that tis right to enslave a man because he is black?
Will short, curled hair like wool … help the argument? Can any logical inference in favor of slavery be drawn from a flat nose, a long or a short face?
Nothing better can be said in favor of a (slave) trade that is the most shocking violation of the law of nature, has a direct tendency to diminish the idea of the in estimable value of liberty, and makes every dealer in it a tyrant, from the director of an African company to the petty chapman (merchant) in needles and pins on the unhappy coast.
It is a clear truth that those who everyday barter away other men’s liberty will soon care little for their own …
… In the province of the Massachusetts Bay … colonists, black and white, born here are freeborn British subjects, and entitled to all the essential civil rights…
Has this whole continent of … millions of good, loyal, and useful subjects, white and black … the election of one member of the House of Commons? …
No man can take my property from me without my consent: if he does, he deprives me of my liberty and makes me a slave.”
Richard Bassett, a Signer of the Constitution from Delaware, converted to Methodism, freed all his slaves and paid them as hired labor.
Jefferson’s original rough draft of the Declaration of Independence contained a line condemning the slave trade of King George’s Royal African Company:
“He has waged cruel war against human nature itself … in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither …
suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce determining to keep open a market where MEN should be bought and sold.”
In 1780, Quaker judge William Lewis drafted “Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery,” which was passed by the Pennsylvania Assembly.
It was the first such legislative enactment in America:
“A serious and grateful sense of the manifold blessings which we have undeservedly received from the hand of that Being from whom every good and perfect gift cometh … it is our duty … to extend … that freedom to others …
It is not for us to enquire, why, in the creation of mankind, the Inhabitants of the several parts of the Earth, were distinguished by a difference in feature or complexion.
It is sufficient to know that all are the work of an Almighty Hand … that He, who placed them in their various situations, hath extended equally his care and protection to all, and that it becometh not us to counteract His Mercies …
We are enabled this day to add one more step to universal civilization by removing as much as possible the sorrows of those, who have lived in undeserved bondage, and from which by the assumed authority of the Kings of Britain, no effectual legal relief could be obtained …
We find our hearts enlarged with … benevolence towards men of all conditions … and give a substantial proof of our gratitude …
Be it enacted … by the … Pennsylvania in General Assembly … that all persons, as well Negroes, and Mulattos, as others … after the Passing of this Act, shall not be deemed and considered as servants for life or slaves.”
In England, the former slave trader John Newton, who wrote the song Amazing Grace, became an Anglican minister and helped form the Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade in 1787.
Newton influenced William Wilberforce, an evangelical Christian member of Parliament, who worked tirelessly for decades to end slavery in the British Empire.
In 1787, the Northwest Ordinance outlawed slavery in the territory which would become Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
George Washington’s original 73 page draft of his Inaugural Address, 1789, included:
“I rejoice in a belief that … mankind will reverse the absurd position that the many were made for the few; and that they will not continue slaves in one part of the globe, when they can become freemen in another.”
On February 3, 1790, less than three months before he died, Franklin petitioned Congress to ban slavery:
“For promoting the Abolition of Slavery, the relief of free Negroes unlawfully held in bondage, & the Improvement of the Condition of the African Races …
an Association was formed … in this state by a number of her citizens of various religious denominations for promoting the abolition of Slavery …
A just and accurate conception of the true principles of liberty … by the blessing of Divine Providence, have been successfully directed to the relieving from bondage a large number of their fellow Creatures of the African Race …
That mankind are all formed by the same Almighty Being, alike objects of His care and equally designed for the enjoyment of happiness the Christian Religion teaches us to believe and the political creed of America fully coincides …
that these blessings ought rightfully to be administered, without distinction of Color, to all descriptions of People … that equal liberty … is still the birthright of all men …
They earnestly entreat your serious attention to the subject of Slavery …
restoration of liberty to those unhappy Men, who alone, in this land of Freedom, are degraded into perpetual Bondage … groaning in servile subjection, that
you will devise means for removing this … promote mercy and justice towards this distressed Race, and … for discouraging every species of traffick in the Persons of Our Fellow Men.
Philadelphia February 3, 1790
Jefferson pushed through legislation ending the importation of slaves into the United States, telling Congress, December 2, 1806:
“… to withdraw the citizens of the United States from all further participation in those violations of human rights which have been so long continued on the unoffending inhabitants of Africa, and which the morality, the reputation, and the best interests of our country, have long been eager to proscribe.”
Slavery began in Caribbean earlier and lasted longer than most anywhere in the Americas.
A notorious trade triangle had developed with Havana, Cuba, at its center:
- SLAVES from Africa
- to SUGAR from the Caribbean
- to RUM in England.
Haiti had several slave revolts against the French government.
Fear that Haitian slave revolts would spread was a compelling factor convincing Napoleon to sell the French Louisiana Territory to the United States during Thomas Jefferson’s Presidency.
Tragically, some slavery continues, with Reuters publishing an article, February 7, 2017: “Haiti hotel police exposes child sex trafficking.”
In 1820, a U.S. revenue cutter captured the slave ship Antelope off the coast of Florida with nearly 300 African slaves.
Francis Scott Key fought to free the slaves, spending seven years in an expensive legal battle which went all the way to the Supreme Court in 1825.
An international incident occurred in 1839 when a Portuguese ship from Sierra Leone transferred 53 slaves to the Cuban ship Amistad.
On July 1, 1839, the African slaves broke free of their shackles and seized control of the ship, demanding to be sailed back to Africa.
The captain misdirected the ship, sailing slowly east during the day, but quickly west at night, finally landing at Long Island, New York, where the slaves were arrested.
The Amistad case went to the Supreme Court in 1841.
74-year-old former President John Quincy Adams, known as the “Hell-hound of abolition,” defended the jailed Africans, writing:
“By the blessing of God, I will argue the case before the Supreme Court.”
This was portrayed in Steven Spielberg’s 1997 film Amistad, starring Morgan Freeman, Nigel Hawthorne, Anthony Hopkins, Djimon Hounsou, and Matthew McConaughey.
John Quincy Adams wrote in his journal, October 1840:
“I implore the mercy of God to control my temper, to enlighten my soul, and to give me utterance, that I may prove myself in every respect equal to the task.”
Francis Scott Key gave Adams legal advice to free the slaves.
Adams shook hands with Africans Cinque and Grabeau, saying: “God willing, we will make you free.”
Against all odds, John Quincy Adams won freedom for these Africans.
John Quincy Adams died February 23, 1848. A pallbearer at his funeral was a freshman Congressman from Illinois, Abraham Lincoln.
When Democrats wanted to expand slavery into the new land acquired from the Louisiana Purchase and the Gadsden Purchase, it resulted in “Bleeding Kansas.”
Prior to the Civil War, America was divided into 5 categories:
1. Radical Northern Republicans: whose attitude was slavery is wrong–end it now.
2. Moderate Republicans: whose attitude was that slavery is wrong but the country should transition out of it gradually over time.
3 Practical Neutral Voters: who cared little about the value of human life. They were more concerned about their pocketbook, jobs, wages, economy and tax-tariff issues.
4. Moderate Southern Democrats: whose attitude was slavery is wrong, but it was settled law and the nation should just live with it. People should have the choice whether or not to own a slave–just treat your slaves nice.
5. Extreme Southern Democrats: whose attitude was slavery is good and should be expanded into new Territories and States.
The Civil War began in 1861, and in 1863, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
Slavery was ended in the United States after the Civil War and the passage of the 13th Amendment.
Slavery continued in the Caribbean, and in areas of Latin and South America.
President James Buchanan wrote December 19, 1859:
“When a market for African slaves shall no longer be furnished in Cuba … Christianity and civilization may gradually penetrate the existing gloom.”
In 1868, a revolt began in Cuba by a farmer of Spanish descent crying out for racial equality, freedom of speech and freedom of association.
Spain put down the Cuban revolt in the Ten Years War, killing thousands.
A Spanish Royal decree finally ended slavery in Cuba in 1886.
In 1895, another rebellion began in Cuba and Spain sent 200,000 soldiers to put it down.
Thousands were put into concentration camps where they suffered from starvation, disease and exposure.
Yellow Press journalism excited the American public, who demanded President William McKinley intervene.
The U.S.S. Maine was sent to Havana, and on February5, 1898, it blew up in the harbor under suspicious conditions, beginning the Spanish-American War.
President McKinley approved the Resolution of Congress:
“Whereas the abhorrent conditions which have existed for more than three years in the island of Cuba, so near our own borders, have shocked the moral sense of the people of the United States, have been a disgrace to Christian civilization, culminating, as they have, in the destruction of a United States battle ship, with 266 of its officers and crew, while on a friendly visit in the harbor of Havana, and cannot longer be endured …
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives … that the people of the island of Cuba are and of right ought to be free.”
There are more slaves today than at any time in human history, reported Benjamin Skinner, a fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
An estimated 27 million people in the world are forced to work, held through fraud, under threat of violence, for no pay beyond subsistence, in forced marriages, in sex-trafficking and prostitution.
Though officially illegal, slavery, by its different names, continues today in:
- Southeast Asia,
- Latin America, and
- even sex-trafficking in the United States
Those most loudly demanding reparations for past slavery are strangely silent regarding present-day slavery.
Tragically, Muslim slave markets continue, with news reports giving shocking details of ISIS enslaving captured women, many of whom are Christian or Yazidi.
The Clarion Project (3/3/16) reported: “ISIS Sells Yazidi Sex Slaves Far and Wide.”
Liberal academia defended this practice, as reported on February 7, 2017, where Georgetown University Professor Jonathan Brown, holder of the Al-Waleed bin Talal Chair in Islamic Civilization, delivered a lecture explaining how slavery and non-consensual sex (rape) are acceptable under Islamic sharia law.
TIME Magazine reported January 18, 2010:
“Despite more than a dozen international conventions banning slavery in the past 150 years, there are more slaves today than at any point in human history.”
Organizations bringing relief to these victims include:
- Voice of the Martyrs,
- Shared Hope International,
- New Friends New Life,
- International Justice Mission,
- Wellspring Living,
- Slavery Footprint,
- Christian Solidarity International,
- Agape International Missions,
- YWAM Thailand Tamar Center,
- Persecution Project Foundation, which provides compassion, hope, and assistance in rebuilding communities through the love of Christ.
In arguing before the Supreme Court to free slaves of the Amistad ship, John Quincy Adams stated:
“The moment you come to the Declaration of Independence, that every man has a right to life and liberty, an inalienable right, this case is decided.
I ask nothing more in behalf of these unfortunate men than this Declaration.”