Slavery, Freedom and the Law in the Atlantic World: A Brief History with Documents

During the era of revolution, independence, and emancipation in the north Atlantic, 'slavery' and 'freedom' were fluid and contested concepts. Individuals and groups turned to courts of law to define and enforce the status of indigenous Americans, forcibly imported Africans, and colonizing Europeans - and their progeny. In this collection of documents from the French, British, Spanish, and Portuguese empires, Peabody and Grinberg introduce the voices of slaves, slave-holders, jurists, legislators, and others who struggled to critique, overturn, justify, or simply describe the social order in which they found themselves.