The Idea of progress and the practice of slavery in the second half of the 18th century

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

This paper essays to confront the theory of progress with the practice of slavery and the discussion concerning its abolition. Due to the vastness and complexity of this theme, only the first French abolitionist movement, happening in the second half of the 18th century, will be considered. By then the European cultural elite assumed several principles as undisputable. Namely:
1 - that all human beings are born equal;
2 - that the principle of individual freedom was a right given by Nature to allow every individual to fulfil his destiny;
3 - that rationality was the basic principle for all free human beings to be able to pursue her or his happiness;
4 - that the concept of humanity included the notion of its unity and diversity;
5 - that the progress of the human mind had its origins in the inalienable rights given to humans by Nature;
6 – the general principle of progress was based on the right to freedom.
Considering all this, one is led to conclude that the practice of slavery and its traffic must be studied as social habits that abased human existence and were opposed to the new rationalist conceptions concerning the individual was taken for granted already by the end of the 18th century.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProgress(es); Theories and Practices
EditorsMário S. Ming Kong, Maria do Rosário Monteiro, Maria João Pereira Neto
Place of PublicationLeiden
PublisherCRC Press
Pages273-286
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-351-24268-4
ISBN (Print)978-0-8153-7415-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event3rd International Multidisciplinary Congress on Proportion Harmonies Identities (), October 4-7, 2017, Bari, Italy - Swabian Castle; Sala Murat; University of Trento, Bari, Italy
Duration: 4 Nov 20177 Nov 2017
Conference number: 3

Conference

Conference3rd International Multidisciplinary Congress on Proportion Harmonies Identities (), October 4-7, 2017, Bari, Italy
Abbreviated titlePHI 2017
CountryItaly
CityBari
Period4/11/177/11/17

Keywords

  • Progress
  • Slavery
  • freedom
  • Enlightenment
  • French Revolution

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  • Cite this

    Pimentel, M. R. P. C. (2017). The Idea of progress and the practice of slavery in the second half of the 18th century. In M. S. M. Kong, M. D. R. Monteiro, & M. J. P. Neto (Eds.), Progress(es); Theories and Practices (pp. 273-286). [14] CRC Press. https://doi.org/10.1201/9781351242691