Re: Defeat of slavery
To add a few quick points that are almost always neglected regarding slavery, most important of which was that slavery was not a racial based process of the "evil white men" enslaving all the "poor black men".
- There were more "white" slaves than "black" slaves.
- The European slaving nations - England, Spain, The Netherlands etc, did not go into Africa and enslave the locals. They bought the locals from other locals who were more than willing to sell different castes, ethinicities, religious adherents, the unwanted, the poor or pretty much anybody else who couldn't argue strongly enough.
- The abolition of the (largely) trans-atlantic slave trade did not stop the slave trade, unfortunately it only stopped what had become one of its largest markets at that time.
- Most slaves were not mistreated, many regions had very strong slave protection laws which ensured an adequate level of care for slaves. While this was partly financially motivated, it's important not to forget that the many of the slave owners in "the new world" were strongly religious and while this might not mean seeing slaves as equals, it did promote compassionate care. However I have read that "black" slaves were considered harder working or more valuable than "white" slaves, and were therefore treated better.
- Many slaves were volunteers, opting for slavery over starvation and death. While not a great choice, it was choosing life over almost certain death.
Not to condone slavery at all, but so much seems to be commonly omitted. Not least, that there are more slaves in the world now than there ever have been at any other time in history.