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The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation
David Brion Davis, Sterling Professor of History, Emeritus
With “The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation,” David Brion Davis brings his prizewinning trilogy on slavery in Western culture to a close.
Davis offers original insights into what slavery and emancipation meant to Americans. He explores how the Haitian Revolution respectively terrified and inspired white and black Americans, and he offers an analysis of the complex and misunderstood significance of colonization — the project to move freed slaves back to Africa — to members of both races and all political persuasions. He portrays the dehumanizing impact of slavery, as well as the generally unrecognized importance of freed slaves to abolition. Most of all, Davis presents the age of emancipation as a model for reform and as probably the greatest landmark of willed moral progress in human history.