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October 2015

The Law's Ambiguous Struggle with Slavery

This talk considers the ambiguity that the law faced in the eighteenth century in its struggle with slavery. In this century, several English judges upheld the rights of slave owners to claim property in their “Negroes”, either on the grounds that they were not Christians, or by appealing to the legal concept of jus gentium (law of nations). However, some judges upheld the rights of slaves, arguing that once a slave set foot in England, the slave became free.

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