Slavery and the Scottish Enlightenment

Author(s): John D. O. Fulton 

ISBN: 9781781559345
£21.00 £30.00
Fifteen stories showing from many different perspectives what happened when the evil of slavery was confronted with the values of the Scottish Enlightenment.
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  • The first book expressly to explore the nuanced and conflicting relationship between slavery and the Scottish Enlightenment

  • Breaks down complex philosophical ideas, moral shifts and legal reforms via the compelling life stories of some of the most influential men and women of the Scottish Enlightenment

  • Informs what can be learned from slavery and its abolition before considering what can be done to prevent similar moral evils infiltrating our democracies today

  • Highly praised by Richard Holloway, author, broadcaster and former Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church

How did the evil nature of slavery become enshrined in law in Great Britain? What drove the change in public perception? What were the key victories on the journey to abolition and who were the key players? What is to prevent a similar evil gaining acceptance again today?

Just as Britain’s industrial development in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries was built largely on the back of slave labour, so too was the development of new ideas and values, shaped by the moral dilemmas arising from the shameful act of denying people their liberty. The story of the Scottish Enlightenment is entwined with that of slavery and the slave trade.

In fifteen stories set between 1720 and 1865 in Britain, Africa, the Caribbean and America, Slavery and the Scottish Enlightenment introduces a diverse cast of characters, both white and black, whose moral viewpoints and active choices between right and wrong helped shape the world in which they lived. As the legacy of slavery continues to infect our lives, we face similar choices today – choices that will determine the ever-evolving values of our society.

BOOK ISBN 9781781559345
FORMAT 234 x 156 mm
BINDING Hardback
PAGES 336 pages
ILLUSTRATIONS 30 illustrations



John D. O. Fulton is an Edinburgh-born lawyer and author who, during a forty-year legal career in property and trust law, developed an international client base with biannual visits over many years to Hong Kong, Singapore and China. His widely praised first book 66 – The House that Viewed the World was published in 2019.