John Woolman: Some Considerations on the Keeping of Negroes

(1754)

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Some Considerations on the Keeping of Negroes remains one of the earliest and most influential antislavery tracts written in North America. Composed by the Quaker John Woolman in 1753, it gained approval by the Society of Friends in 1754, marking the beginnings of committed Quaker opposition to slaveholding. Prior to that point, Quakers in the American colonies had been ambivalent about the moral status of slavery, many even owning slaves themselves.

Writing at a time when prevailing...