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The Chattel PrincipleInternal Slave Trades in the Americas$
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Walter Johnson

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780300103557

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300103557.001.0001

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The Domestication of the Slave Trade in the United States

The Domestication of the Slave Trade in the United States

(p.32) 2 The Domestication of the Slave Trade in the United States
The Chattel Principle

Adam Rothman

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses a dangerous strategy pursued by southern reformers through withdrawal from the international slave trade. They realized that the same principles of humanity, security, and political economy that informed the Anglo-American movement against the international trade might be turned against slavery itself. In order to prevent the movement against the international trade from doubling back against domestic slavery, reformers in the southern United States elaborated a pro-slavery worldview that distinguished between slave trading and slaveholding. Slave trading, they argued, represented European commercialism and mercantilism; it sapped the country's economic resources and undermined their political security. Slaveholding, in contrast, had become part of the fabric of republican society, adding to the wealth of the nation and the independence of its citizens.

Keywords:   southern reformers, international slave trade, Anglo-American movement, domestic slavery, pro-slavery worldview, slave trading, slaveholding

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