"They being stolne": Conflicting Views of Slavery and Governance in Early Massachusetts and Across the Empire
Holly Brewer of the University of Maryland leads a discussion of primary documents revealing Massachusetts’s contradictory views and practice on slavery. Compared to other British colonies, where elements of slavery were justified with broad and near-feudal rationales, she argues, Puritan Massachusetts resisted the right of kings and broadened the idea of consent. These ideas helped restrict slavery, even in the face of royal approval and promotion of slavery during the later 17th century and into the eighteenth century.
Holly Brewer is Burke Chair of American History and associate professor at the University of Maryland. She is currently finishing a book that situates the origins of American slavery in the ideas and legal practices associated with the divine right of kings, provisionally entitled Inheritable Blood: Slavery and Sovereignty in Early America and the British Empire. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for this research. Her first book, By Birth or Consent: Children, Law, and the Anglo-American Revolution in Authority, won three national prizes.close