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Locke 3

John Locke, and The Slave Trade

Shaftsbury, as we have seen, was one of the leaders of the Lords Proprietors of the Carolinas, the company which had the Royal Charter to found a colony in the Carolinas. Locke was the secretary of the Lords Proprietors, and as such was involved in the writing of "The Fundamental Constitution of the Carolinas." in which the slave owning colonist is declared to have "absolute power over his nego slaves."

Locke was also involved in the slave trade as a private citizen. Along with many another prominent person in England, Locke bought shares in the Royal Africa Company which was just being rechartered and selling shares to raise money. He also owned stock in yet another company "The Bahama Adventurers" who traded in slaves in the West Indies. So, Locke was involved with and had a very good understanding of the slave trade, as a government and secretary, as a secretary for a private corporation involved in founding a colony, and as a private citizen investing in the trade. Thus, when he wrote his theory of slavery in the Second Treatise he was writing with detailed knowledge of the nature of the slave trade and the practices of Afro-American slavery in the 1670s.

 

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