===The Moral Argument===
[[File:Slaveshipposter.jpg|thumbnail|Stowage of the British slave ship Brookes under the regulated slave trade act of 1788]]
The evolution of the moral argument dates back to the long conversation around the question of human nature. What Sylvia Wynter and others frame as the “genre of the human” provides a roadmap to the nature of the conceptual arguments advanced by Western philosophers. Clearly, who gets constituted as human determines who is offered the protections offered by a social contract that confers rights upon those humans that belong to a particular society. The foundations of enslavement, then, are based upon the denial of the humanity of those that are enslaved. Importantly, this precedes the enslavement of Africans, but it is also true that it was already racialized, if we take the arguments of Cedric Robinson to heart.
The basic assumptions of those articulating moral rationales for ending enslavement in the nineteenth century had to revolve around claims of the humanity of those enslaved. Using a variety of Biblical readings, abolitionists in England, for example built an argument that enslaved people shared the basic humanity as those of English descent.
It is important to note, here, that at around the same time of the birth of the American Anti-Slavery Society, a cadre of Black abolitionists made their mark. Manisha Sinha labels them an extension of the Black radical tradition. Figures like David Walker, Martin Delany, and Henry Highland Garnet opposed slavery but they did not always hew to the moralist arguments of the white abolitionists. Vincent Harding asserts that while they debated the merits of the constitution, of emigration, and rebellion, they began to see the question less as a concern of the future of America and more of an identification with the prospects of Black freedom—regardless of what happens in and to America. They built an alternative convention movement that raised these concerns and supported various initiatives that were the harbingers of Pan Africanism and Black Nationalism.
===The Question of Political Economy===