Slavery, Race and the Origins of American Freedom

November 8, 2013

Slavery was central to the making of the early modern Atlantic world, particularly in European colonization efforts across the Americas. In English North America, as elsewhere, racial thought emerged to codify slavery in the thirteen colonies. But how could race and slavery exist and persist in the revoluntionary world of the late 18th century? Haiti and the United States provide instructive and contrasting examples: a democratic movement that abolished slavery and an independent republic that staked its new found freedom on slavery.
Lecturer Stephanie Smallwood is the Dio Richardson Endowed Professor in History at the University of Washington and the author of the prize-winning book, Saltwater Slavery: A Middle Passage from Africa to American Diaspora in the Americas.