Edmund Burke

Portrait by Joshua Reynolds, 1774

QUICK FACTS
BORN:
12 January 1729 in Dublin, Ireland
  DIED:
9 July 1797 in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England

AUTHOR OF
  • A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful, 1757
  • Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents, 1770
  • Reflections on the Revolution in France, 1790
Portrait to come. See entry in Wikipedia.

 

By attacking slavery more fiercely than ever before, Revolutionary Americans freed tens of thousands of slaves. But the Revolution’s libertarian and egalitarian message had perverse consequences. It forced those Southerners who chose to retain slavery to fall back on the alleged racial deficiencies of blacks as a justification for an institution that hitherto they had taken for granted and had never before needed to justify. The anti-slavery movement that arose out of the Revolution inadvertently produced racism in America.

Gordon S. Wood
Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815 (2009)