Slavery By David N. Gellman Summary

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David N. Gellman is a professor of Early American History at DePauw University in Indiana and his written work focuses greatly on colonial America and emancipation in the United States. As an expert in Early American History, David N. Gellman gives us a strong background on the institution of slavery in New York in his book Emancipating New York and the road to the emancipation of African Americans in the state of the New York. David N. Gellman’s book Emancipating New York describes the process by which the state of New York abolished slavery with a combination of white opposition, black resistance and political changes. The abolition of slavery in New York was an effort of the above-mentioned sectors of society and government, all with differing views, interests and agendas. Chapter 4 of Emancipating New York is titled “Containing Slavery: The Manumission Society and the Law,…show more content…
Private manumission refers to a slave-holder releasing their slaves from slavery and public gradual emancipation refers to government laws passed where emancipation was granted to certain slaves under certain conditions. The NYMS was hopeful that a slave-holder in New York would benevolently release their slaves out of their own goodwill. The book mentions John Jay’s attitude towards the release of his slaves, “…Jay actually bought slaves with stated intention of freeing them after they worked off the value of their purchase price.” This example is significant in that it reflected the attitude many slave-holders had towards private manumission, the “property” they had purchased could be released once they prove their worth, and if they were not worthy they were punished, sold or continued enslaved. This attitude did not promote the idea that the “property” discussed here were human beings, and therefore inherently possess the right to live
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