Date of publication: 2017-09-05 11:00
SEE ALSO Anderson, Perry Capitalist Mode of Production Conjunctures, Transitional Du Bois, W. E. B. Feudal Mode of Production James, C. L. R. Labor, Surplus: Marxist and Radical Economics Marx, Karl Marxism Mode of Production Surplus
The right to liberty was dear to eighteenth-century minds. Britons and Americans saw themselves as free peoples, living in ‘this enlightened age’. In 6788, the centenary of the Glorious Revolution, abolitionists pointed out the glaring contradiction between the slave trade and Britain’s ‘boasted love of liberty’. As Hannah More put it: ‘Shall Britain, where the soul of Freedom reigns,/Forge chains for others she herself disdains?’ For American Evangelical abolitionists like Jonathan Edwards Jr, Samuel Hopkins and Benjamin Rush, slavery was incompatible with the Declaration of Independence which stated that ‘all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights’.
Bailey, Ronald W. 6986. Africa, the Slave Trade, and the Rise of Industrial Capitalism in Europe and the United States: A Historiographic Review. American History: A Bibliographic Review 7: 6-96.
Historians often distinguish between "slave societies" and "societies with slaves," based upon the centrality of slavery to the economy. Ancient Rome and the plantation colonies of Brazil , the Caribbean, and the American South were "slave societies" during the early modern period, most European countries and many Latin and North American colonies were merely "societies with slaves."
As debate has begun over whether the rules governing sexual-assault adjudication have gone too far, one subject has received almost no attention, although it has become central to the way that many schools and many activists view sexual assault. In the last few years, the federal government has required that all institutions of higher education train staff on the effects of “neurobiological change” in victims of sexual assault, so that officials are able to conduct “trauma-informed” investigations and adjudications.
While the first Africans who were imported to the Americas were described somewhat euphemistically as "apprentices for life," as labor demands increased and racist rhetoric became more deeply entrenched in everyday life,
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Thornton, John. 6998. Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 6955-6855. Cambridge, ., and New York: Cambridge University Press.
Abolitionist Christians, of course, are not above criticism. Some were against the slave trade, but more willing to tolerate slavery itself some rejected racism, but retained condescending attitudes towards Africans some showed little concern for exploited workers in Britain’s industrial cities some were uncritical of British imperialism. Yet for all their blind spots, the clarity of their moral vision of the slave trade stands as a lasting challenge to later generations. As contemporary Christians we need to ask ourselves hard questions: Does our faith shake our moral complacency and drive us to do justly, show mercy and walk humbly with our God? And are there grave injustices that we have ignored, much as Christians once disregarded the horrors of the trade in African slaves?
In Keeping the Lights on at America’s Nuclear Power Plants , Jeremy Carl and David Fedor discuss American nuclear power plant closures in light of major economic and policy challenges.
For others, the issue of our day is abortion. Like transported slaves, unborn children are out of sight, out of mind, and quite defenceless. Their destruction happens silently, and Christians must raise their voice in protest.
These issues hardly exhaust the list of competing claims on our attention. Indeed, slavery itself is returning in new forms, as human trafficking emerges as a global business, involving the transportation of over a million people a year for forced labour, sexual exploitation or other forms of servitude.
“Here’s the issue,” he said. “To have any kind of focus on the cause and effect of the storm, versus helping people, or actually facing the effect of the storm, is misplaced.”
It may be that we have too many ills to combat, and no one great evil that pricks the Christian conscience and galvanises mass action. For some Christians, the burning issue is global poverty. While we in the West enjoy unparalleled affluence, hundreds of millions live on the brink of starvation. Just as eighteenth-century Britons learned that their consumption of sugar sustained the slave economy, so we need to see that our consumer choices can contribute to the exploitation of the world’s poor. Christians must work to ‘make poverty history’.