Free to Enslave
This chapter assesses how the political disputes between the African Company and the separate traders helped produce from the 1680s to the 1760s the ideological and policy underpinnings for the antislavery movement that developed in the final third of the eighteenth century into full-blown abolitionism. The public, parliamentary setting for the debates between the separate traders and the African Company broadened the discussion beyond the narrow consideration of the management of the trade to the treatment of Africans. The dialogic impetus between company and traders also saw the refinement of their respective positions on regulation so that monopoly came to be seen as a potential means to rein in the slave trade’s unique brutality.
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