Early Freethinkers, Abolitionists, and Unitarians


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I am not here to describe these mind impoverishing practices, some of which consisted consisted of: living in unsanitary, dilapidated, dirt-floor, shacks; a subsistence level of rations, less than sufficient clothing for warmth in the winter months, being forbidden, on the punishment of death, to learn to read or write; granting no recognition of the, legitimacy of slave marriages or families, and the establishment of slave-breeding farms. But we will not discuss these things today, no, not today.

Now that I have reminded you or in some instances informed you of some of these rudimentary characteristics of “Negro Chattel slavery”, I may now proceed with my intended message. However, I ask your forgiveness if I evince no elaborate grace in preparing an ostentatious introduction. And I trust your indulgences and patience as I speak bluntly and plainly and lay my thoughts before you.

The Idea of the Abolition of Slavery:
Where did the idea of “slave abolition” come from? Just the thought of the “abolition of slavery”, in the early 1700s and 1800s in America was a contrary and wayward idea. This was because such an idea differed radically from the social ethos and the acceptable acculturation of the young American nation.

In addition, the fact that from time immemorial up through the 1700s, and 1800s, “slavery” had been an acceptable means by which civilized nations managed their labor resources. And generally such labor management practices had been blessed and approved by the religious and educational authorities in the societies in question. In other words, in the early 1800s slavery was a “normal” thread in the social fabric of most civilized nations and especially so in America.

So the idea of “slavery abolition” (the idea that all men (including slaves) should be free) was a foreign concept to most societies in the early 1800s. (Chuckle) Now I am certain that the slaves themselves might have always had this idea in mind.

The idea of Slavery abolition (of freeing slaves) began in Europe during the so-called Age of Enlightenment or the Age or Reason. The historians date this period from the early 1600s to the early 1800s.









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