Such an elegant, thoughtful, unbiased presentation of history. Dec 22, Gordon rated it it was amazing. Wilberforce is today much better remembered than the cleric Thomas Clarkson, though it was Clarkson who was truly the driving organizational force of the abolitionist movement. Yet the same was true of the French, Spanish, Portuguese and Belgians.
What made Britain different was its traditions of rule of law and of democracy. Made the force of public opinion much stronger, and contributed to making the slavery issue much more visible. Virtually any man was fair game. The system was part and parcel of being the greatest maritime power on earth. After the war, many of these were returned to their masters, which was part of the terms of the treaty of Paris. But the largest single number, , were in New York City.
The British commander, Gen. Carleton, met with Gen Washington whose first priority was regaining the slaves. Carleton refused, and instead sent the slaves to Nova Scotia and freedom. Washington was embittered by the perfidy of the British. The issue of compensation for the slaves lingered for decades, and was finally arbitrated by the Tsar of Russia who decreed the British were to pay the Americans half the market value of the slaves. They doffed their hats for him.
This is a wonderful, inspiring book. Highly recommended.
Sep 15, Adam rated it really liked it Shelves: history , non-fiction , the-problem-of-civilization , wealth-and-power-inequality , africa. Bury the Chains is a character-rich, narrative history of the British abolition movement. Hochschild makes the story compelling and readable, and shows the relevance the abolition movement has for modern activists. The story includes such disparate elements as British Quakers, the Sierra Leonean freedmen colony, Carribean sugar plantations, the Hatian slave rebellion, and the Napoleonic wars.
Abolition in Britain was the struggle that pioneered the standard model of activist fights, which we are Bury the Chains is a character-rich, narrative history of the British abolition movement. Abolition in Britain was the struggle that pioneered the standard model of activist fights, which we are so saturated with these days. It was the first to use paid organizers; non-religious and unbiased reports like those NGOs like Oxfam and Amnesty Int'l produce today ; petitions and letter campaigns to politicians; letters to the editor in newspaper; local chapters working to mobilize communities; boycotts of relevant products; and legal action, among others.
It also shared other elements now standard to a good activist fight: the industry responded, hiring lobbyists to win and pocket MPs; theatre and advertisements to sway public opinion with misinformation; and defaming the personal reputations of activists. It also ended the way most activist struggles have since: in a disappointing reform that didn't end the practice for another 60 years slaves bred in captivity; freedmen rescued from smuggler ships by the Royal Navy pressed into service as Seaman, another form of forced servitude and replaced it with something arguably even worse wage slavery.
As was often the case since, history was subsequently rewritten to cleanse the struggle of its revolutionary character and make the rulers seem enlightened on the issue all along. The other really interesting point that compares this to all subsequent activist movements is its non-ideological roots. As Hochschild points out, "freedom, not slavery, has been the peculiar institution" historically. It bears explanation why abolition happened when it did, and that explanation ultimately suggests that it wasn't just because it finally occurred to people to be nice in the s.
Jan 28, Kim Stallwood rated it it was amazing. Some books are just worth reading twice. The task they had taken on was so monumental as to have seemed to anyone else impossible. They had to ignite their crusade in a country where the great majority of people, from farmhands to bishops, accepted slavery as completely normal.
It was also a country where profits from West Indian plantations gave a large boost to the economy, where customs duties on slave-grown sugar were an important source of government revenue, and where the livelihoods of tens of thousands of seamen, merchants, and ship-builders depended on the slave trade. The trade itself had increased to almost unparalleled levels, bringing posterity to key ports, including London itself. How event to begin the massive job of changing public opinion?
Furthermore, nineteen out of twenty Englishmen, and all Englishwomen, were not even allowed to vote. Without this most basic of rights themselves, could they be roused to care about the rights of other people, of a different skin color, an ocean away?
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View all 3 comments. Jan 07, Bibliophile rated it it was amazing Shelves: , british-history , nonfiction , 18th-century.
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A beautifully written, extraordinarily moving account of the late 18th-century battle to stop the slave trade within the British Empire. Hochschild rescues some activists like Thomas Clarkson from ill-deserved historical obscurity I got all verklempt when I realized that the Quakers who came to Clarkson's funeral lifted their hats in respect - a measure that they refused to show even the King of England!
Hochschild also A beautifully written, extraordinarily moving account of the late 18th-century battle to stop the slave trade within the British Empire. Hochschild also makes a point of talking about the slave rebellions in Saint Domingue today's Haiti and Jamaica as turning points in the long grinding struggle to make slavery illegal.
Jun 05, Bill P. There is no way not to give the highest possible rating to this sweeping account of the British Abolition of the slave trade that spanned 50 some years from one man's inspiration to a movement aided by appeals to conscious and the grand events of history. Hochschild is a wonderful historian and even better writer and it was hard to put this down.
I had an ARC of this sitting in a box for 7 years and just happened to pick it up needing something to read. I have no idea why I took so long to do so There is no way not to give the highest possible rating to this sweeping account of the British Abolition of the slave trade that spanned 50 some years from one man's inspiration to a movement aided by appeals to conscious and the grand events of history. I have no idea why I took so long to do so, remembering that King Leopold's Ghost was just as riveting.
Beyond the analysis of the African triangle that made so many British fortures, the route from London to Africa to the West Indies and back to England, the descriptions of the treatment of africans captured and sold into bondage and the accounts of the little studied wars of rebellion on Caribbean sugar plantations makes for compelling and moving reading.
The personal stories of dedication and heroism of the individuals that bucked convention and questioned their country's morality were also inspiring. This is a terrific book that focuses attention on our capacity to commit horrors and our capacity to right them. Sep 18, LDB rated it really liked it. One of my all time favorite narrative non-fiction books is Hochschild's King Leopold's Ghost.
So I was excited when this book was proposed by my book club. Bury the Chains is about slavery in the British Empire and the first major social campaign to try to eliminate it. It is a fascinating tale that definitely gave me a broader understanding of slavery beyond the US's history.
Hochschild, as usual, does a fantastic job of te One of my all time favorite narrative non-fiction books is Hochschild's King Leopold's Ghost. Hochschild, as usual, does a fantastic job of telling a well and deeply researched story in a way that is engaging and interesting.
Bury the chains prophets and rebels in the fight to free an empire's slaves
You get to know some of the main characters as well as the big and little milestones. I would definitely recommend this book! Aug 10, Christine Hill added it. I don't know how Adam Hochschild does it, but he makes history so interesting. Granted, it took me a few months longer to finish the book than it normally does, but I have been reading multiple books at one time, so it may mean nothing. In any case, I was very moved by the story. I knew a few things about the abolition movement as it was, but there were so many more key characters that were filled out for me.
Also, the explanation of historical forces at play to prolong or delay the end of the s I don't know how Adam Hochschild does it, but he makes history so interesting. Also, the explanation of historical forces at play to prolong or delay the end of the slave trade and eventually freedom. What I really enjoyed about Hochshild's narrative is that he actually asks questions. He is very honest in how he communicates knowledge, which is to say, he acknowledges that there may be some things we can never really know.
tranunpecul.tk I haven't read a lot of books that do that. It really made me feel like I was in a conversation with Hochschild, and we were discovering information together. It is still history, so it is a little dry for those who aren't very interested or enthusiastic about the issues in this book. But I enjoyed it.
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Jul 28, Michael Poor rated it it was amazing. This is a book that can renew your faith in the human spirit for righteous social change. There are so many remarkable stories in this history of the abolition of the British slave trade that it is hard to focus on one. Hochschild acknowledges the heroes of the movement, giving due time to well-known figures like John Newton and William Wilberforce. But it's the little-known yet tireless efforts of Thomas Clarkson and the Quakers that gave the movement life.
I must say that I was moved to tears This is a book that can renew your faith in the human spirit for righteous social change. I must say that I was moved to tears by the sign of respect paid by the Quakers upon Clarkson's death at the end of the book. But the true heroes are the untold thousands of men and women forced into bondage on Caribbean sugar plantations and Southeast United States cotton and tobacco plantations.
Their voices were forcibly silenced and their histories lost, but their endurance in the midst of such a crime against humanity is heroism defined. Jul 15, David rated it liked it Recommends it for: idealists. Shelves: read-history. This is a book for liberals. It wants you to believe that good people can make social change happen after a long period of dedicated agitation. It also wants to give you some tips about how a successful movement in the past made it happen. It's a good read, although it goes off in two many different directions, acquiring a lot of characters who enter and then disappear without much apparent reason.
I ran into a college student recently who said that he read it for a class and found it inspiratio This is a book for liberals. I ran into a college student recently who said that he read it for a class and found it inspirational. Jul 28, Marilyn rated it really liked it Shelves: british-history , servants-and-employers , black-history.
An interesting and probably thorough account on the attempts of Quakers and other humanitarian Britons to abolish the Britain to Africa to West Indies slave trade between the American Revolution and the Emancipation Act in the mid s. Many more people than Mr.
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