The emergence of a sophisticated antislavery ideology and the rise of organized opposition to slavery in the Atlantic World in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries represented nothing less than one of the great intellectual and social revolutions in the history of the world. An institution which by the early eighteenth century was near axiomatically accepted as necessary, useful, and thoroughly in accord with Judaeo-Christian tenets and virtues and which profoundly informed the lives of millions of people had by the mid-nineteenth century come increasingly to be viewed as the chief vector of evil and the Devil in the world, the very quintessence of evil as some called it, and the chief repository of all that was socially, politically, and especially economically archaic and stagnant. This encyclopedia is organized around three principal concerns: the illustration and explication of the various forms of antislavery and its emergence as an organized movement; the immediate precipitants of abolition and the processes of its passage; and the enactment of emancipation and its consequences. While the earliest expressions of antislavery may have only comprised one or a few isolated voices, the antislavery most commonly reviewed here is that animated by a systematic and ardent opposition to slavery and intended to mobilize large numbers of people to attack and end the institution. A wide variety of people and organizations nurtured and extended this antislavery: religious figures, political economists, slaves, sailors, artisans, missionaries, planters, captains of slave ships, democratic enthusiasts, and others were all involved along with the various organizations-secular, religious, or otherwise-with which they were associated. Antislavery was by no means exclusively or even principally the work of an intellectual elite and the force of all, from the lowly and unlearned to the privileged and prominent, is represented. The presence of slavery continued to be attacked in the contracting Ottoman Empire in the early twentieth century, in Liberia in the 1930s, in Saudi Arabia in the mid-twentieth century, and even in the latter years of the century in countries like Sudan, Pakistan, India, and others in Southeast Asia.
The entries have a worldwide focus, covering antislavery movements and important developments in slavery abolition and slave emancipation in many places around the globe. Other entries cover individuals, groups, events, documents, and organizations related to the history of abolition and emancipation over the last two centuries. Coverage also address a wide range of topics, issues, and ideas related to the broad topic of ending historical systems of slavery and human bondage.
Besides over 400 cross-referenced entries, most of which conclude with lists of additional readings, the encyclopedia also includes an Introduction tracing the history of abolition and emancipation, a selected general bibliography, a guide to related topics, numerous illustrations, and a detailed subject index.
Part of Greenwood's Milestones in African American History series, this set covers the ideology and activism of the various international movements that resisted and ultimately led to the repeal of slavery. Though the focus is mainly on the Atlantic World in the 1700s and 1800s, entries trace the changing fortunes of slavery worldwide, from early beliefs in the necessity, righteousness, and divine approval of the peculiar institution to the later beliefs in the midnineteenth century that slavery was evidence of moral decay in a society and little short of evil incarnate. Overall, the encyclopedia outlines and explains the various antislavery movementstheir origins, structures, accomplishments, seminal figures, and historic import. The consequences of manumission are covered in great detail as well, with reverberations that often reach to the present day. A nine-page introduction lays the groundwork for the encyclopedia by providing historical backgroundnamely that slavery was believed by many to be in harmony with the essential tenets of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Around 330 alphabetical entries cover concepts; movements; events; legal, political, and social issues; and influential figures and organizations. The entries are succinct and informative and full of cross-references and suggestions for further reading. For more information, a four-page selected bibliography appears at the end of volume 2. A number of black-and-white illustrations are scattered throughout the set, bringing the history to life for the user. A comprehensive chronology starts with the 1441 kidnapping of Africans by Portuguese sailors and ends with the passage of new laws in 2005 reaffirming the illegality of slavery in an African country where it still persists, Niger. A helpful "Guide to Related Topics" groups entries into categories like "Ideology and Philosophy," "Law and the Freeing of Slaves," and "Rebellions, Rescues, and Slave Resistance." Overall, this is a fine resource for users ranging from undergraduates to general readers. For more serious researchers, it is only a basic starting point, as the entries are relatively short and there are no comprehensive, scholarly essays included. Tosko, Michael
"The scope extends beyond North America and the Atlantic world, and encompasses ancient times through the 20th century. The set is thematically organized according to antislavery and its emergence as an organized movement; the immediate precipitants of abolition and the processes of its passage; and the enactment of emancipation and its consequences. Arranged alphabetically, entries contain boldface cross-references, followed by a short further reading list that includes print and electronic resources. Navigation is enhanced through see references. Volume 1's strong chronology includes international and related events dating from 1441 through 2005. Especially useful are the introduction, which provides an overview of the history of antislavery, abolitionism, and emancipation; Guide to Related Topics; selected bibliography; inclusion of forces and people who opposed abolition; and presentation of abolition and emancipation as separate processes. Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers." - Choice
"Both of these two entries in Greenwoods Milestones in African American History series offer a solid foothold for high school or college students beginning research on slave resistance or abolition. They cover people, places, philosophies, and popular culture and share many common features: readable, signed A-to-Z entries with short source lists; general bibliographies; chronologies; black-and-white illustrations; and subject indexes. With 400 cross-referenced entries, Antislavery provides a global look at efforts to combat slavery….Recommended for high school, college, and large public libraries. (Reviewed in conjunction with Encyclopedia of Slave Resistance and Rebellion, Rodrigues, Greenwood Press)" - Library Journal
"[T]his set covers the ideology and activism of the various international movements that resisted and ultimately led to the repeal of slavery. Though the focus is mainly on the Atlantic World in the 1700s and 1800s, entries trace the changing fortunes of slavery worldwide, from early beliefs in the necessity, righteousness, and divine approval of the peculiar institution to the later beliefs in the mid-nineteenth century that slavery was evidence of moral decay in a society and little short of evil incarnate. Overall, the encyclopedia outlines and explains the various antislavery movements-their origins, structures, accomplishments, seminal figures, and historic import. The consequences of manumission are covered in great detail as well, with reverberations that often reach to the present day….The entries are succinct and informative and full of cross-references and suggestions for further reading. . . . [T]his is a fine resource for users ranging from undergraduates to general readers." - Booklist/Reference Books Bulletin
"This two-volume encyclopedia contains approximately 300 entries on topics in antislavery, abolition, and emancipation, with an objective of detailing the topics in an accessible manner and showing the broad range of forms these forces followed in history. It has three thematic concerns: illustrating the various forms of antislavery and its emergence as an organized movement, showing the causes of abolition and its passage, and describing the process of emancipation and its consequences. Slavery is discussed in many societies and time periods, including the twentieth century, with a focus on the Atlantic world. Following a historical introduction, the entries detail specific countries, important figures and leaders, economic issues, ideology and philosophy, literature, music, the law, organizations and societies, politics, rebellions, religion, slave trade, social and cultural issues, war, and women. Emancipation and abolition are treated separately." - Reference & Research Book News