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Title: Priestley and Smith Against Slavery
Authors: Matsumoto, Akihito
Keywords: Joseph Priestley
Adam Smith
Slave trade
Issue Date: Jun-2011
Publisher: Graduate School of Economics, Kyoto University
Journal title: The Kyoto economic review
Volume: 80
Issue: 1
Start page: 119
End page: 131
Abstract: This paper aims to consider Joseph Priestley's arguments against slavery in comparison with those of Adam Smith. Slavery was one of the most controversial issues in eighteenth-century England and was debated upon by a number of prominent thinkers. The problem was also discussed by Priestley and Smith who were regarded as representative thinkers in the century. Priestley published a remarkable book arguing against slavery, entitled A Sermon on the Subject of the Slave Trade, in 1788. Despite the fact that this work provides detailed discussion and consideration of slavery, little attention has been paid to this great book. Similar arguments are also found in his Lectures on History and General Policy, also published in 1788 and encompassing the subjects of history, language and grammar, law, and politics on the basis of lectures given at Warrington Academy in Lancashire from 1761 through 1767. The Lectures briefly offer Priestley's views on slavery from humanitarian and economic perspectives. Priestley was greatly influenced by Adam Smith, and learned a great many things from Smith's The Wealth of Nations, published in 1776. Priestley's economic arguments against slavery basically stem from Smith's views.
DOI: 10.11179/ker.80.119
Appears in Collections:Vol.80 No.1

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