Trevor Burnard
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Anthony Benezet
A Short History of Guinea and its impact on early British abolitionism
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How did the institution of Atlantic slavery and the African slave trade come under attack in the 1780s? One major contributor to anti-slavery discourse in the early stages of abolitionism was the French-born American Quaker, Anthony Benezet. In 1762, he wrote a pathbreaking book on the history of West Africa, in which he used the writings of proslavery advocates and slave traders to construct a very different, and much more positive, portrait of Africa and African slavery than previously available. In Benezet’s rendering, Africans exemplified a whole range of Quaker virtues, none of which had been previously associated with Africans. This chapter assesses the importance of Benezet on Africa in the development of early humanitarian discourse.

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Humanitarianism, empire and transnationalism, 1760–1995

Selective humanity in the Anglophone world

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