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Not Made by Slaves: Ethical Capitalism in the Age of Abolition by Bronwen Everill (review)

Not Made by Slaves: Ethical Capitalism in the Age of Abolition by Bronwen Everill (review) men and women in Saint Domingue not only immediately overthrew slav- ery with the help of white allies, but also got the radical, white Jacobin government in France to make them full citizens of the French republic. In other words, even when compared against a form of abolition that took place in their own time, the first movement’s gradualism can appear meek. Moreover, Polgar’s study still centers on the traditional white-led abo- lition societies. While he highlights their close alliance with free Black leaders, Black Americans are cast as appendages to a white-centered movement. The problem here is twofold: First, by underscoring Black sup- port for white abolitionists, Polgar hopes readers will question whether claims of paternalism or even racial prejudice can be seriously invoked, as if Black elites could not traffic in similar assumptions. Second, we are still left with an abolitionist movement narrowly confined to the North and led by nonenslaved people. A more radical revision of early abolitionism—one yet to be written—would shift our attention away from the Black and white antislavery voices in the North, and instead center on enslaved communi- ties in the South, particularly on ones organizing for slavery’s overthrow. While the scholarship http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of the Civil War Era University of North Carolina Press

Not Made by Slaves: Ethical Capitalism in the Age of Abolition by Bronwen Everill (review)

The Journal of the Civil War Era , Volume 12 (1) – Feb 15, 2022

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright @ The University of North Carolina Press
ISSN
2159-9807

Abstract

men and women in Saint Domingue not only immediately overthrew slav- ery with the help of white allies, but also got the radical, white Jacobin government in France to make them full citizens of the French republic. In other words, even when compared against a form of abolition that took place in their own time, the first movement’s gradualism can appear meek. Moreover, Polgar’s study still centers on the traditional white-led abo- lition societies. While he highlights their close alliance with free Black leaders, Black Americans are cast as appendages to a white-centered movement. The problem here is twofold: First, by underscoring Black sup- port for white abolitionists, Polgar hopes readers will question whether claims of paternalism or even racial prejudice can be seriously invoked, as if Black elites could not traffic in similar assumptions. Second, we are still left with an abolitionist movement narrowly confined to the North and led by nonenslaved people. A more radical revision of early abolitionism—one yet to be written—would shift our attention away from the Black and white antislavery voices in the North, and instead center on enslaved communi- ties in the South, particularly on ones organizing for slavery’s overthrow. While the scholarship

Journal

The Journal of the Civil War EraUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Feb 15, 2022

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