Freeing themselves: Puritanism, slavery, and black abolitionists in Massachusetts, 1641-1788 Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Cameron, Christopher Alain
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History
  • While the available scholarship on the northern antislavery movement focuses primarily on abolitionist committees composed of whites, this thesis argues that in Massachusetts African Americans played a central role in the abolition of slavery and the slave trade in the state. In the early colonial period Puritan religious ideology and the ministers who espoused it influenced the establishment of an institution of slavery that contained the seeds of its own demise. During the 1770s and 1780s Massachusetts blacks availed themselves of their right to petition and bring suits in court, in addition to building organizations, producing literature, and writing essays aimed at undermining proslavery ideology. They effectively harnessed the discourse of Christianity to build a community and influence white abolitionists' antislavery arguments, assisting in the struggle to free themselves and other blacks from the shackles of slavery.
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  • Williams, Heather Andrea
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  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Open access

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