Chapter

The Influence of Classical Ideas on the Anti-Slavery Debate at the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa (1795–1834)

John Hilton

in Ancient Slavery and Abolition

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199574674
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191728723 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199574674.003.0004

Series: Classical Presences

The Influence of Classical Ideas on the Anti-Slavery Debate at the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa (1795–1834)

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In the Cape, criticism from educated visitors, settlers, and missionaries created pressures which were instrumental in bringing about the emancipation of slaves in spite of the lack of any serious locally-based abolitionism movement. Classical ideas played an important part in the debate, but they were deployed by both sides. The jurists were crucial to the discussion which was integrated into wider debates on Roman and Dutch Law. Issues of morality and sexuality formed a crux around which issues of religion were integrated into the debate. Nevertheless, local political circumstances were not favourable for abolition and it was only with the influence of enlightened British government in the settled areas of South Africa that the debate came to a forcible settlement. Nevertheless, local opposition to abolitionism may be seen as establishing a prehistory for the Apartheid regime.

Keywords: law; wars; Boers; Apartheid; colonialism; missionaries; barbarians

Chapter.  8939 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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