Chapter

Slavery in American Foreign Relations

Don E. Fehrenbacher and Ward M. McAfee

in The Slaveholding Republic

Published in print December 2002 | ISBN: 9780195158052
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849475 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195158052.003.0004
Slavery in American Foreign Relations

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Chattel slavery in a nation explicitly dedicated to human freedom was a heritage both paradoxical and dangerous for the new United States of 1776. The domestic consequences of that heritage became the central theme of 19th-century American history, as increasing sectional conflict led eventually to disunion, civil war, and the aftermath, called reconstruction. Less familiar are the effects of the heritage upon American foreign relations and upon the image of itself that the United States presented to the rest of the world. American victory in the Revolutionary War meant that the abstract principles of the Declaration of Independence had been successfully converted into an actual experiment in nation building. It made the new United States an international symbol, not only of revolutionary escape from external rule, but of republican self-government and personal freedom.

Keywords: slavery; freedom; United States; foreign relations; Revolutionary War; Declaration of Independence; reconstruction

Chapter.  19370 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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