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Today In History – March 8

“That some desperate wretches should be willing to steal and enslave men by violence and murder for gain, is rather lamentable than strange.”[1]

On March 8, 1775, a pamphlet signed ‘Justice and Humanity’ was published. This pamphlet was titled ‘African Slavery In America.’ It was the first of its kind in the American colonies to call for the emancipation of slaves and the abolition of slavery.

“So monstrous is the making and keeping them slaves at all, abstracted from the barbarous usage they suffer, and the many evils attending the practice; as selling husbands away from wives, children from parents, and from each other, in violation of sacred and natural ties; and opening the way for adulteries, incests, and many shocking consequences, for all of which the guilty Masters must answer to the final Judge.”[2]

This pamphlet had many arguments as to why slavery was wrong. Mostly, the pamphlet speaks for itself: “With what consistency, or decency they complain so loudly of attempts to enslave them, while they hold so many hundred thousands in slavery; and annually enslave many thousands more, without any pretence of authority, or claim upon them?”[3]

Some historians believe that ‘African Slavery In America’ was written and published by Thomas Paine. This, however, is widely debated.

[1] Anonymous, “African Slavery In America” (Pennsylvania Journal and the Weekly Advertiser, March 8, 1775),
[2] Anonymous, “African Slavery In America.”
[3] Ibid.

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