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Roman ErrorClassical Reception and the Problem of Rome's Flaws$
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Basil Dufallo

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198803034

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198803034.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 21 February 2020

Receptions of Rome in Debates on Slavery in the U.S.A.

Receptions of Rome in Debates on Slavery in the U.S.A.

Chapter:
(p.97) 5 Receptions of Rome in Debates on Slavery in the U.S.A.
Source:
Roman Error
Author(s):

Margaret Malamud

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198803034.003.0006

American abolitionists not only invoked the Roman allusions and comparisons employed by the revolutionary generation’s fight for liberty from the British crown, but also adapted or subverted them in service of the black struggle for freedom. Rather than rejecting Roman society outright because it was a slaveholding society—the primal “Roman error” from their perspective—many abolitionists instead deployed figures and images from Roman antiquity in their own struggles against the despotism of chattel slavery. Supporters of emancipation and black civil rights, this chapter shows, thus engaged in an intense debate over the correct reception of ancient Rome with proslavery Southerners, who argued that slavery in both Rome and America enabled liberty and civilization. Bringing the discussion into the present day, this chapter offers a contemporary example of arguments over the correct reception of ancient Rome in relation to American slavery and the American Civil War.

Keywords:   Roman slavery, American slavery, abolitionism, American Revolution, American Civil War

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