Explain how we can say that there were two different forms of abolition.


Slavery, Abolition

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We could probably identify more than two types of abolition.  The reason for this is that there were many different ideas about how to bring abolition about and what to do with the slaves who had been set free.  Let us look at two of the more commonly advocated types of abolition.

First, there was gradual and compensated abolition.  From this point of view, slaveowners had a legitimate legal right to own their slaves.  The slave owners had not done anything wrong.  Therefore, they should not be deprived of their property and their livelihoods suddenly and without compensation.  Though abolition was by definition a radical concept, this was its more moderate form.

Second, there was immediate and uncompensated abolition.  People who believed in this idea felt that the slaveowners had done things that were completely immoral even if they were legal.  Therefore, they believed that slaveowners had no right to be protected in the abolition process.  They felt that the only just thing to do would be to free all of the slaves immediately and to do so without compensating the owners.  This was the most radical position on the issue.

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