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A Particularly Idiot View On The Abolition Of Slavery

The Guardian tells us that Britain didn’t in fact move as one to abolish slavery. Rather, the nation rejected the idea, resisted it even. This is a particularly stupid view of politics and decision making:

Britain’s role in the slave trade was not to end it, but to thwart abolition at every turn
Michael Taylor
Contrary to our view of history, pro-slavery thinking in the 1820s and 30s was the norm, from politicians to monarchs

Sure. If everyone had been against slavery in the 1820s then slavery would have been abolished in the 1820s. So too if sodomy had been made legal in the 1950s then that would have been because the balance of opinion – balance of opinion being how politics does work – was, in those 1950s, that sodomy should be legal. As it turned out that wasn’t the general opinion.

So too with slavery. To think any other way is to refuse to understand how democracy works. And that’s particularly stupid when considering slavery and its abolition. For it was the reform acts – getting rid of the pocket boroughs that often enough were bought by the West Indian interests – that allowed the abolition of slavery to pass.

Or, as we might put it, when the peeps were able to have their say – the nation speaks and all that – then slavery went.

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Quentin Vole
Quentin Vole
10 months ago

The Guardian (then the Manchester Guardian, and a real newspaper) didn’t initially support abolition.

Leo Savantt
Leo Savantt
9 months ago
Reply to  Quentin Vole

Unbeknown to many the first slave owner in what was to become the USA, the Colonies, was black and at the time there were also white slaves.

Spike
Spike
10 months ago

Yes, that is how democracy works. But youse famously don’t have it, but monarchy (still not entirely symbolic). And our Founders explicitly rejected it for a republic of enumerated powers (still given lip service). So given an anti-slavery or pro-sodomy majority, there remain obstacles to instant results. A majority often assembles against Amazon for getting too-big-for-its-britches, or against the One Percent, same notation. But these minorities have safeguards.

John B
John B
9 months ago

Britain didn’t ‘move as one’ to introduce slavery either. It was introduced by Spain in the 17th Century in its South American Colonies. The trade spread north but it was Americans, not British, who introduced it in some of the 13 Colonies in the 18th Century onwards, which by the end of that century were independent. As for Britain to ‘move as one’ for abolition: back then there was no universal franchise, so how could it ‘move as one’? Anyway what convoluted imaginings would lead anyone to think that most of the population knew about or considered slavery which had… Read more »

Boganboy
Boganboy
9 months ago

Of course, one may argue that Ben Franklin and others were staunch supporters of black slavery since they opposed the importation of white British convicts to do the work.

I understand that Virginia passed a law against the importation of convicts from Britain in 1670. No doubt the importers of black convicts—-oops slaves were happy to be free of the competition.

Though I’d say that the decisive argument against whites was that their sentence ran out, whereas the blacks were sentenced for life, and their children after them.

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