The History of Slavery You Probably Weren't Taught in School• https://fee.org by Lawrence W. Reed
In "Recognizing Hard Truths About America's History With Slavery," published by FEE on February 11, 2023, I urged an assessment of slavery that includes its full "historical and cultural contexts" and that does not neglect "uncomfortable facts that too often are swept under the rug."
The central notion of both that previous essay and this follow-up is that slavery was a global norm for centuries, not a peculiar American institution. America is not exceptional because of slavery in our past; we may, however, be exceptional because of the lengths to which we went to get rid of it. In any event, it is an age-old tragedy abolished in most places only recently (in the past two centuries or so). As British historian Dan Jones notes in Powers and Thrones: A New History of the Middle Ages,
Slavery was a fact of life throughout the ancient world. Slaves—people defined as property, forced to work, stripped of their rights, and socially 'dead,' could be found in every significant realm of the age. In China, the Qin, Han, and Xin dynasties enforced various forms of slavery; so too did ancient rulers of Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, and India.