[[File:AmINotAMan.jpg|left|thumbnail|250px|Am I Not a Man and a Brother? (1837)]]__NOTOC__
The movement toward the abolition of the system of enslavement has been remembered as one of the great humanitarian initiatives in modern history. Occurring as it did in a world that was rent by the slaveholding republics and empires of America and Western Europe, abolition was in some ways “anti-modern” in that
in sprung from those intellectuals and moralists who denied that progress benefits us all if it comes at a human cost. Therein lies the paradox. How could a system so responsible for the modern world’s economic progress, like enslavement, be ended by those who enjoyed its benefits?
There are a few factors to consider here. There first is a moral claim. If we are to take the theorists of natural rights at their word, then it was immoral to reduce human beings to chattel. Much of this claim was buttressed by an incipient radical Christianity that emerged within dissident factions of the Protestant movement. Out of those movements came many of the first abolitionist organizations in history. The second factor has to do with political economy. Slaveholding republics like the United States and slaveholding empires like those of Great Britain, France, and Spain, among others, faced a dynamic economic situation at the beginning of the nineteenth century.
Harding, Vincent. ''There is a River: The Black Struggle for Freedom in America.'' Orlando: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1981.
Horne, Gerald. ''The
Counterreovlution of 1776: Slave Resistance the Origins of the United States.'' New York: New York University Press, 2014.
Robinson, Cedric. ''Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition''. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2000.