Abstract

In his groundbreaking narrative Thoughts and Sentiments (1787), Ottobah Cugoano expressed the paradox created by the slave trade that threatened to undermine the social fabric of European slaveholding societies. The commercial procedures involved in the slave trade violated the principles of Christianity, reason, and property ownership, while generating profits for European businesses and governments. The author argues that Cugoano's case for ending the slave trade and abolishing slavery depended on his ability to analyze the slave trade from the vantage points of Christianity, reason, and property ownership in order to counter apologist arguments that supported the slave trade by denying the humanity of Africans. Cugoano forced his European readership into a paradoxical predicament. They could either end the slave trade and actualize their religious, philosophical, and economic principles, or they could allow the slave trade to continue to undermine those principles, thus rendering European societies hypocritical.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-8050
Print ISSN
1045-6007
Pages
pp. 629-656
Launched on MUSE
2011-02-03
Open Access
No
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