New: Book Report: Bury the Chains

If you're from the USA, then happy Independence Day! I can't think of a less appropriate day to publish this book report on Bury the Chains, which has charming stories about slaves in the American war of independence who fought because they were promised their freedom--and in a few cases those promises were even kept. Ah, sweet independence. But Bury the Chains isn't really about the American war of independence. It's about the history of the British abolition movement.

For a long time, the British Empire was big on slavery. Many people in the Empire were against slavery, but most of them were slaves (not worth listening to, apparently) or Quakers (perhaps the only group of people less worth listening to than slaves). Then an abolition movement started. Over the course of forty years, they swayed public opinion.

They started by abolishing the slave trade. Abolitionists figured that this would end slavery--slavers worked slaves to death before breeding them. Slavers claimed that this was necessary for slavery to be profitable, and abolitionists believed the slaers. Slavers responded by treating slaves somewhat better--slaves started living long enough to breed. Wow, I guess the slavers were wrong about the necessity of their previous wasteful practices. Echoes of the lumber industry, the oil industry,... ahem, anyhow.

The abolitionists kept going and eventually stomped out slavery in the British Empire. It took a long time. Meanwhile, France abolished slavery--enticing some British slaves to revolt--and restarted it again. Meanwhile, the British fought the Maroons of Jamaica, who were a tough crew. I always assumed that "Maroontown" was named after some folks who had been marooned, but I guess it was named after some tough fighters.

Fans of pressuring big government to outlaw practices that harm society may find this book heartening. I know I did. Then again, it only takes a few days to read. It must take some real determination to struggle for forty years.

Tags:  |  |  |


Posted 2006-07-04