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Part 1: 1450-1750
Part 2: 1750-1805
<--Part 3: 1791-1831
Part 4: 1831-1865

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Historical Document
"Address to the Public"

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Click here for the text of this historical document.

Even among the most stalwart abolitionists, support for ending the slave trade often co-existed with a belief in black inferiority -- either innate or as the inevitable result of slavery and oppression.

In 1789, the Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery, one of the earliest and best known American anti-slavery organizations, issued a broadside entitled "Address to the Public." Doubting that former slaves could overcome the irreparable intellectual and social damage of enslavement, the broadside ventured that "[u]nder such circumstances Freedom may often prove a misfortune to [the freed slave] and prejudicial to Society."

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Related Entries:
Founding of Pennsylvania Abolition Society

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