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Divergent Paths: The Anglo-American Abolitions Of The Atlantic Slave Trade

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Chapter Summary

In February 1807 the House of Representatives voted to abolish the African slave trade to the United States by a vote of 113 to 5. This was probably "the closest approach to unanimity ever recorded in a congressional roll-call vote on a significant slavery issue in the antebellum United States." On the eve of the American Revolution Anglo-Americans shared a common civil and political legacy. On both sides of the Atlantic they took pride in their representative political institutions and in the common law inheritance that protected the individual rights of freeborn subjects against arbitrary state coercion. By the end of the 'Age of Revolution' (1775-1825) the United States government had begun a foot-dragging exercise that was to lead the republic well away from the policy of interdiction pursued by the British.

Keywords: African slave trade; age of revolution; Anglo-Americans; political institutions



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