Title

Slavery, Empire and Civilization: A Luso-Brazilian Defense of the Slave Trade in the Age of Revolutions

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

January 2013

Journal Title

Journal Slavery & Abolition: A Journal of Slave and Post-Slave Studies

Volume

34

Number

1

Pages

98

Abstract

This article examines a defense of the slave trade mounted in the 1790s by the Luso-Brazilian Bishop Azeredo Coutinho. While Azeredo's defense has been interpreted as a function of his slave-owning family's interest, this article provides a broader analysis of Azeredo's writings on the slave trade and the Portuguese empire within the contexts of eighteenth-century Luso-Brazilian intellectual culture and transatlantic debates about empire, commerce and historical transformation. His writing on the imperial economy and the slave trade included both appeals to an eighteenth-century ideal of civilization as a process predicated upon the universality of humanity as well as defense of empire as the rational, just and necessary exploitation of the barbarous by the civilized.

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