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Briefly review and explain the cultural and economic issues surrounding slavery mentioned in this chapter. What do the terms "paternalism" and "peculiar institution" mean, especially in light of Foner's treatment of the arguments of abolitionists and pro-slavery idealists? Do you find any strengths or weaknesses in the political and/or philosophical views of either the abolitionists or pro-slavery idealists? If so, briefly discuss them.

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Slavery existed before money or law”. In contrast to historical views of slavery that are associated with Chattel Slavery, numerous forms fall under the umbrella term of contemporary slavery. The United Nations (U.N.) Working Group recognizes such radically new forms as: child labor, children in conflict, trafficking in persons, sexual exploitation, and the sale of children. The International Labor Office (ILO) approaches the topic through the lens of forced labor. The ILO recognizes slavery and abductions, compulsory participation in public works projects, forced labor in agriculture, domestic workers, bonded labor, forced labor imposed by the military, forced labor in the trafficking of persons, as well as some aspects of prison labor and rehabilitation through work.


Economic conditions are decisive in the formation of slavery. Chattel slavery emerged as a disturbing manifestation of a push for labor-intensive goods created in the new world. Slaves were seen as property—as a form of investment. Massive slave insurrections significantly added to the costs nations incurred in enforcing the trade. These economic realities, coupled with strong domestic opposition, eventually led slave traders and politicians in Great Britain to re-evaluate the desirability of the trade. This ultimately led to slavery’s abolition in Great Britain and in subsequent countries around the world. It is estimated that a staggering fifteen million of the world’s slaves can be found in India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh combined (Bales 2000). The primary method of enslavement in these countries is debt bondage. The marriage of life and slavery may seem absolute, but it need not be. The future is defined by the actions of the present The slave trade eventually became more profitable in the New World than in Europe, in part because Europe already had a large supply of indigenous white labor.


It was about slavery and the abolitionist movement played a profound role in the developments that led to civil war. It seemed impossible for antislavery moderates like Lincoln to understand the sectional crisis without reserving a large share of responsibility for abolitionists like Stowe, whose best-selling Uncle Tom?s Cabin had first been serialized in an abolitionist Free Soil Party newspaper, the National Era. Abolitionists‘ key contribution to the politics of sectional conflict was their effort to elaborate and disseminate the critical rhetorical device of the Slave Power. Within the racist polity of the antebellum North, no other antislavery rhetoric was as compelling as the claim that slaveholders wielded disproportionate political power and threatened the liberties of northern whites.

Political abolitionists recognized that this argument offered a winning political strategy that would help them secure allies in their struggle against slavery. Not merely reproaching slaveholders, political abolitionists shaped the Slave Power concept into a condemnation of the Second Party System as the crucial political bulwark protecting slavery. Abolitionist political activism successfully thrust this Slave Power idea into the northern political mainstream in hopes of promoting a national reorganization of political debate that would array the Slave Power against the friends of freedom.


Abolitionists‘ political influence went far beyond rhetoric though. Antislavery third parties skillfully capitalized on institutional openings created by the contours of the Second Party System. Abolitionists recognized the value of Congress as a public forum and pushed congressional politicians to take more advanced antislavery stands. As abolitionists lobbied and sometimes collaborated with (primarily Whig) antislavery congressmen, they provoked aggressive proslavery responses. Then, they celebrated the ensuing fireworks that dramatized Slave Power control of the federal government.

Different times, same weaknesses: abolitionism past and present Nelly Schmidt 1 May 2015 Activism against so-called 'modern slavery' often appears to descend from the abolitionism of previous centuries. The history of past movements provides insight into the forms and weaknesses of current movements.Slavery and related forms of servitude have been illegal for some time, but are nonetheless reported to be globally on the increase. It is not easy to make direct or straightforward comparisons between the problems of today and the transatlantic slave trade of the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries. Such an exercise too often ends up in anachronism and errors of interpretation. What we can do, however, is reflect upon differences and similarities between patterns of political activism

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