Slavery constitutes a significant thread in the fabric of American history, and the transatlantic slave trade was one of the most prevalent issues predating the establishment of the United States. Trade really began to increase in the early 1600’s, driven by increased demand for agricultural labor. Africans were specifically targeted, primarily due to racial thinking and economics, but other forces played a role as well, including competition among political entities in Africa and competition to trade in the European market. The slave trade was an extremely controversial topic throughout the European colonies, with supporters of the slave trade on one end of the spectrum and abolitionists on the other. These two sides of the spectrum can be seen in the poems The sorrows of slavery: a poem: containing a faithful statement of facts respecting the African slave trade by John Jamieson, and No abolition of slavery, or, The universal empire of love: a poem by John Boswell.
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