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File:Cicatrices de flagellation sur un esclave.jpg

Slavery is a form of forced labour in which people are held under the involuntary control of others, and required to work under legal penalty. Most notably, from the 16th to the 19th centuries, millions of people were taken from Africa to the Americas to work there.

Quotes Edit

  • Personally I believe the bicentenary offers us a chance not just to say how profoundly shameful the slave trade was – how we condemn its existence utterly and praise those who fought for its abolition, but also to express our deep sorrow that it ever happened, that it ever could have happened and to rejoice at the different and better times we live in today.
  • I would not have a slave to till my ground,
    To carry me, to fan me while I sleep,
    And tremble when I wake, for all the wealth
    That sinews bought and sold have ever earn'd.
  • Slaves cannot breathe in England; if their lungs
    Receive our air, that moment they are free;
    They touch our country, and their shackles fall.
    • The Task (1785), Book II, line 40, The Timepiece
  • I have often been utterly astonished, since I came to the north, to find persons who could speak of the singing, among slaves, as evidence of their contentment and happiness. It is impossible to conceive of a greater mistake. Slaves sing most when they are most unhappy. The songs of the slave represent the sorrows of his heart; and he is relieved by them, only as an aching heart is relieved by its tears. At least, such is my experience. I have often sung to drown my sorrow, but seldom to express my happiness. Crying for joy, and singing for joy, were alike uncommon to me while in the jaws of slavery. The singing of a man cast away upon a desolate island might be as appropriately considered as evidence of contentment and happiness, as the singing of a slave; the songs of the one and of the other are prompted by the same emotion.
    • Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave (1845)
  • I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and incur my own abhorrence. From my earliest recollection, I date the entertainment of a deep conviction that slavery would not always be able to hold me within its foul embrace; and in the darkest hours of my career in slavery, this living word of faith and spirit of hope departed not from me, but remained like ministering angels to cheer me through the gloom. This good spirit was from God, and to him I offer thanksgiving and praise.
    • Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave (1845)
  • I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free.
  • In giving freedom to the slave we assure freedom to the free,—honorable alike in what we give and what we preserve.
  • I have always thought that all men should be free; but if any should be slaves, it should be first those who desire it for themselves, and secondly, those who desire it for others. When I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.
    • Abraham Lincoln, in an address to an Indiana Regiment passing through Washington (17 March 1865); The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln Volume VIII
  • As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy.
    • Abraham Lincoln, in notes for a speech from a fragment presented by to the Chicago Veterans Druggist's Association in 1906 by Judge James B. Bradwell, who claimed to have received it from Mary Todd Lincoln. Collected Works, 2:532
  • If there breathe on earth a slave,
    Are ye truly free and brave?

    If ye do not feel the chain,
    When it works a brother's pain,
    Are ye not base slaves indeed,
    Slaves unworthy to be freed?
  • They are slaves who fear to speak
    For the fallen and the weak
    They are slaves who will not choose
    Hatred, scoffing, and abuse,
    Rather than in silence shrink
    From the truth they needs must think;
    They are slaves who dare not be
    In the right with two or three.
  • Slavery is in itself an arrogant denial of human rights, and by no human reason can the power to establish such a wrong be placed among the attributes of any just sovereignty.
  • As soon as men live entirely in accord with the law of love natural to their hearts and now revealed to them, which excludes all resistance by violence, and therefore hold aloof from all participation in violence — as soon as this happens, not only will hundreds be unable to enslave millions, but not even millions will be able to enslave a single individual.
  • We used to own our slaves; now we just rent them.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical QuotationsEdit

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 715-16.
  • Servi peregrini, ut primum Galliæ fines penetraverint eodem momento liberi sunt.
    • Foreign slaves, as soon as they come within the limits of Gaul, that moment they are free.
    • Bodinus, Book I, Chapter V.
  • Lord Mansfield first established the grand doctrine that the air of England is too pure to be breathed by a slave.
  • No more slave States and no more slave territory.
    • Salmon P. Chase, Resolutions Adopted at the Free-Soil National Convention (Aug. 9, 1848).
  • Cotton is king; or slavery in the Light of Political Economy.
  • It [Chinese Labour in South Africa] could not, in the opinion of His Majesty's Government, be classified as slavery in the extreme acceptance of the word without some risk of terminological inexactitude.
  • Nimia libertas et populis et privatis in nimiam servitutem cadit.
    • Excessive liberty leads both nations and individuals into excessive slavery.
    • Cicero, De Republica, I. 44.
  • Fit in dominatu servitus, in servitute dominatus.
    • He is sometimes slave who should be master; and sometimes master who should be slave.
    • Cicero, Oratio Pro Rege Deiotaro, XI.
  • I do not see how a barbarous community and a civilized community can constitute a state. I think we must get rid of slavery or we must get rid of freedom.
  • Corrupted freemen are the worst of slaves.
  • Resolved, That the compact which exists between the North and the South is a covenant with death and an agreement with hell; involving both parties in atrocious criminality, and should be immediately annulled.
  • The man who gives me employment, which I must have or suffer, that man is my master, let me call him what I will.
  • The very mudsills of society. * * * We call them slaves. * * * But I will not characterize that class at the North with that term; but you have it. It is there, it is everywhere, it is eternal.
  • Cotton is King.
    • James H. Hammond. Phrase used in the Senate, March, 1858. Gov. Manning of South Carolina, Speech at Columbia, S. C. (1858).
  • Whatever day
    Makes man a slave, takes half his worth away.
    • Homer, The Odyssey, Book XVII, line 392. Pope's translation.
  • [England] a soil whose air is deemed too pure for slaves to breathe in.
    • Capel Lofft, Reports, p. 2. Margrave's Argument. May 14, 1772.
  • The air of England has long been too pure for a slave, and every man is free who breathes it.
    • Lord Mansfield. Said in the case of a negro, James Somersett, carried from Africa to Jamaica and sold.
  • Execrable son! so to aspire
    Above his brethren, to himself assuming
    Authority usurp'd, from God not given.
    He gave us only over beast, fish, fowl,
    Dominion absolute; that right we hold
    By his donation; but man over men
    He made not lord; such title to himself
    Reserving, human left from human free.
  • Where bastard Freedom waves
    Her fustian flag in mockery over slaves.
    • Thomas Moore, To the Lord Viscount Forbes, written from the City of Washington.
  • And ne'er shall the sons of Columbia be slaves,
    While the earth bears a plant, or the sea rolls its waves.
  • You have among you many a purchas'd slave,
    Which, like your asses and your dogs and mules,
    You use in abject and in slavish parts,
    Because you bought them.
  • Englishmen never will be slaves; they are free to do whatever the Government and public opinion allow them to do.
  • Disguise thyself as thou wilt, still,
    Slavery! said I—still thou art a bitter draught.
  • By the Law of Slavery, man, created in the image of God, is divested of the human character, and declared to be a mere chattel.
    • Charles Sumner, The Anti-Slavery Enterprise, address at New York (May 9, 1859).
  • Where Slavery is there Liberty cannot be; and where Liberty is there Slavery cannot be.
    • Charles Sumner, Slavery and the Rebellion, speech before the New York Young Men's Republican Union (Nov. 5, 1864).
  • They [the blacks] had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.
    • Roger B. Taney, The Dred Scot Case. See Howard's Rep, Volume XIX, p. 407.
  • Slavery is also as ancient as war, and war as human nature.
    • Voltaire, Dictionnaire philosophique portatif ("A Philosophical Dictionary") (1764), Slaves.
  • I never mean, unless some particular circumstances should compel me to do it, to possess another slave by purchase, it being among my first wishes to see some plan adopted by which slavery in this country may be abolished by law.
  • That execrable sum of all villanies commonly called the Slave-trade.
  • A Christian! going, gone!
    Who bids for God's own image?—for his grace,
    Which that poor victim of the market-place
    Hath in her suffering won?
  • Our fellow-countrymen in chains!
    Slaves—in a land of light and law!
    Slaves—crouching on the very plains
    Where rolled the storm of Freedom's war!
  • What! mothers from their children riven!
    What! God's own image bought and sold!
    AMERICANS to market driven,
    And bartered as the brute for gold!

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