The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture

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David Brion Davis, The problem of slavery in Western Culture (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1966)

David Brion Davis in his book ‘The Problem of Slavery In Western Culture’ has given an historical research of societies attitude towards slavery. In no ancient society was the distinction between slave and free man so sharply drawn in America. Although European morals had progressed in the age of enlightenment, the slave trade in America gave a constant stimulus to the worst vices and passions of mankind. Davis attempted so much in order to compare the problem of slavery in different cultures. Davis dealt more on pre-1776 writing a lot in this book. It is a great book for history majors but it is not recommended for casual readers. Davis book is an apt summary tracing the roots of slavery and the abolitionist movement. He believed that racism caused the enslavement of African people and explains the opinion and arguments of several other prominent historians in the subject. Davis began the book by demonstrating that slavery has always been a source of social and psychological tension, but that in Western culture it was associated with certain religious and philosophical doctrines that gave it the highest sanction. African slaves arrived in the New World as early as 1503; they played an instrumental role in the commerce of Spain and Portugal. Competition between all maritime European powers made the slave trade more lucrative. Slavery was indispensable to the economic growth of the New World. What was once considered a mild and domestic institution (slavery) became a harsh and depraved global phenomenon. Slavery grew exponentially. If history was progressive, America retrogressed. He moved on to a comparative analysis of slave systems in the Old World. Abolitionist argued that American slavery was unique, harsher than its predecessors, whereas proslavery forces argued that American slavery was similar to other forms of bondage throughout history. No...
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