Slavery and abolition

Natalia Bas, Kate Ferris, Nicola Miller

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Abraham Lincoln has been widely hailed as “immortal,” but historians have only recently charted how sharply the reasons for his attributed status in eternity varied in different places and at different times. This was the case worldwide, but it was particularly so in those societies where slavery persisted after 1865. For many people in the Empire of Brazil, the colony of Cuba, and the imperial monarchy of Spain, Lincoln had nobly fulfilled the founding ideals of the US Republic, purging its “great stain” and restoring its claim to be the model of all human emancipation. For others, he was a dangerous idealist whose irresponsibility had caused untold and unnecessary bloodshed—an enduring example of precisely how not to pursue the path to progress. In these three slave-holding societies, unlike in those places where abolition was not an immediate issue, the meaning of Lincoln’s image was shaped by the overshadowing questions of how and when to bring slavery to an end. While virtually everyone agreed that Lincoln and the US Civil War had made abolition elsewhere inevitable at some point, beyond that there was very little consensus about what else the US experience implied for other countries.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAmerica imagined
Subtitle of host publicationexplaining the United States in nineteenth-century Europe and Latin America
EditorsAxel Körner, Nicola Miller, Adam I.P. Smith
Place of PublicationNew York, NY
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages33
ISBN (Electronic)9781137018984
ISBN (Print)9781137018977, 9781137536884
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2012


  • United States
  • Slave trade
  • Slave owner
  • Harmonious society
  • Spanish government


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