Phl 302
Dr. Uzgalis
Winter 1996





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EXERCISE: EQUIANO AND LOCKE ON SLAVERY

Due in class, Tuesday, Feb. 14

I want to use Equiano's Travels to explore the question of whether Locke's theory of slavery in the Second Treatise of Civil Government applies to Afro-American slavery and in what way. That is, if you applied the theory of slavery whic h Locke describes in Chapters 4 and 16 of the Second Treatise would that theory 1) justify Afro-American slavery 2) condemn Afro-American slavery, or 3) is the theory such that no judgement about Afro-American slavery can be made using it as a ba sis? So,

  1. Read Chapters 4 and 16 of the Second Treatise again carefully. Make a short list of the crucial conditions and qualifications under which Locke allows that slavery is legitimate and note the major limitations.

  2. As you read Equaino's Travels, note any passages which might show that the conditions which Locke establishes for legitimate slavery are satisfied by African or Afro-American slavery, or that they are not satisfied. Here are a couple of exa mples of passages which are likely relevant. On Pp 68 -- 70 Equiano discusses the attempts of slaves to commit suicide, and the treatment of their property, and the penalties for killing them. Find as many relevant passages as you can, but try to focus on finding passages which will really decide the questions we are trying to answer.

  3. Briefly explain which of the three alternatives above you would choose and why?


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