Is slavery legal in the United Kingdom?

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Is slavery legal in the United Kingdom?




  1. of course...not

  2. ~Depends on whether or not one is Irish.

    To Katie D, Travis and mld:  Duh.   With the exceptions of New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Missouri, Kentucky, Delaware and Washington DC, all states that did not join the confederacy had abolished slavery long before the UK and the rest of Europe.  Those backward thinking Americans of the North and West were the examples pointed to by the abolition movements of the "civilized" world.  The United States government had no authority to abolish slavery as a matter of constitutional law.  It was, by design, strictly a state issue.  That why it is so unbelievably ignorant to believe that the War for Southern Independence (It was NOT a civil war) had anything whatsoever to do with slavery.

    Edit to KG:  Rather than to rely on grammar school teachers for my education, I read.  I read things like the US Constitution and things like James Madison's notes  on the Philadelphia (Constitutional) Convention.  [(Madison was, I'm sure you don't know, the Secretary of the convention and he kept meticulously complete notes on the debates.  I daresay you've never had a teacher who has read them.]  I understand that the Treaty of Paris in 1783 conferred independence on 13 new nation states in North America who confederated together in 1789 but who never relinquished their individual sovereign independence permanently.  They agreed that a condition precedent of acceding to the union was the corollary right to secede.  After all, the borrowed words of John Locke quoted in the Declaration of Independence spell out that when government  no longer serves the People, the People have the right to change it or leave it.  Lincoln said much the same thing on the floor of Congress during his brief stint as a member of the House.  The rebels of '76 didn't do all that fighting and dying for a cause only to throw it away in '89.

    In actually reading history from original and reliable secondary sources, and not relying on 'teachers' who simply recite from biased texts or spout the party line, I learn that secession was always an understood right retained by each of those 13 new  nations created by the British in 1783.  I understand they joined into a compact with each other with the express understanding that they could leave when the agreement was breached or no longer in the best interests of any given state.  That is why no one challenged the New England states rights to secede when they threatened to do so in 1803.  That is why no one challenged the New England states right to secede when they threatened to do so again in 1812-1814.  The only one who challenged South Carolina's threat (but not right)  to secede in 1837 was Andy Jackson, but he had proved countless times that he was not going to be bound by military authority, orders of superior officers or his commander-in-chief or, as president, by statutory or constitutional law or by Supreme Court ruling.

    The seceding states had the absolute right to secede.  They did so.  They followed pristine constitutional, philosophical and legal democratic strictures in doing so. The Ordinances of Secession were passed by the democratically elected representatives of the people, then confirmed at the polls by the people themselves (that is what "We, the People" meant and required when Morris wrote it).  The seceding states (as in nation-states) simply reasserted their former independence, which they had never surrendered to the USA and  then consolidated for the common good into a confederacy of nations (the CSA) like the one that Gouverneur Morris and James Madison and Ben Franklin and George Mason and George Washington and Alexander Hamilton and the other founding fathers intended to create.   Unlike the Declaration of Independence (or the actual declaration of independence from British sovereignty, the Lee Resolution of July 2, 1776 (or Rhode Island's declaration of independence of May 4, 1776)) the Ordinances of Secession were legal and carried the weight of law and were supported by the people. (I'm guessing that you didn't know only 1/3 of the colonists ever supported the independence movement in 1776 and that is why it was never put to the people for a vote  - it never would have passed).  If you accept the validity of the meaningless Declaration of Independence (and if you know anything about it you know that the authors neither said anything new or original in that piece of propaganda nor intended to and they acknowledged it had no significance as a matter of British or international law - their words, particularly Jefferson's, not mine) then you must agree that the Ordinances of Secession must have been legally valid and the USA had the obligation to accept them (especially since Virginia, Massachusetts and New York made it expressly and adamantly understood that they would only opt in in 1787 if they could opt out again and the other 10 said that of course every state had that right).  The only reason that the constitution does not contain express language on the topic is because consensus on the language could not be reached but all agreed that Article IV and Amendments IX and X covered it fully enough.

    The right to secede being a constitutional given, the Ordinances of Secession having been duly ratified, the eleven states of the Confederate States of America were no longer part of the the USA.  They passed their own state and federal constitutions.  They had their own government of the people, by the people, for the people.  That government perished from the earth when the USA invaded.  It was NOT a civil war.  It was an invasion by a superior force into a smaller nation (actually, eleven smaller nations) with the intention of conquering those independent nations and subjugating them to the tyrannical will of the Northern and Western majority - and it had nothing whatsoever to do with slavery.  Interesting enough, no one was ever tried for treason after the war.  Jefferson Davis demanded such a trial.  His defense was the validity of secession.  The Radical Republicans, intent on destroying what was left of the south, refused to try anyone because of their fear (knowledge) that the defense would prevail.  Such a trial and a defendant's verdict would have obviated the results of the war.  Volumes have been written on the subject.  Read a page or two.

    Maybe you should get away from the mythology and learn a little about your own nation's history.  You won't  get it from teachers who are indoctrinated into the party line, but the original sources make things pretty clear.  Assuming you can read.  And understand what you read.  I require no less of my students and only wish more of my colleagues had the ambition to do the same.

    I won't go into the illegality and the unconstitutionality of the Emancipation Proclamation other than to say that the right to own slaves was guaranteed by the Constitution at Article I section 2, Article IV, section 2 and Amendments IV, V, IX and X of the Constitution.  In any case, it was redundant, the First and Second Confiscation Acts of 1862 having done the same thing months earlier.  The Confiscation Acts and EP were temporary and were tools of war intended to wreak havoc in the south and had nothing to do with any humanitarian goals or the permanent abolition of slavery.  Read Sumner and Seward and Lincoln among others for detail.

    For whatever it's worth, I live in the north, as has my family since 1639.  That fact doesn't change the basic facts of history.

  3. No.  Britain abolished the slave trade in the early 1800s, and slavery was abolished altogether in the British colonies in the 1830s.

  4. No! There isn't anywhere in the Western world that it is. Britain in specific abolished slavery in 1833.

  5. No it is illegal. Slavery is usually legal in third world countries.

  6. NO

    the U.K. actually has much more progressive laws than the U.S. even handguns are illegal there

    they certainly dont allow slavery

  7. Not since before Lincoln in the U.S.A!

  8. evreywere... i think !!

  9. Absolutely, 100% no. Slavery was abolished in the U.K. in 1833, waaaaaay before the U.S.

  10. No. And yes, Britain abolished slavery before the U.S.

    And to Oscar Whatever-the-second-part-is: the definition of civil war is war between multiple parts of the same country. The United States of America is, and was, a single country, which the South is, and was, a part of. Ergo, the "War For Southern Independence," despite what some southerners like to say, WAS a civil war. And almost everyone who has lived through 8th grade, and a lot of people who haven't, knows that Lincoln was trying to preserve the Union, and preferred a gradual dying-out of slavery, and that the Emancipation Proclamation applied only to rebel states, where it wouldn't really do much immediate good.

  11. No, and according to the 1772 Somersett ruling it never had been legal.

    The ruling came about when an American colonist brought his slave, James Somersett, to Britain. Somersett escaped but his owner recaptured him and locked him up. The owner was ordered (under habeus corpus) to justify the imprisonment. Somersett's case was the same as that later brought by Dred Scott - that once he was on so-called 'free soil' he was no longer a slave. The case was heard by Lord Mansfield, who ruled in Somersett's favour. Mansfields decision was that slavery was such an inhuman practice that its legality could not be taken for granted - there had to be an actual, clear law allowing it. As there was not - and had never been - anything in English law to that effect, Mansfield ruled that slavery had never been legal and declared Somersett free.

    However, the ruling applied only to Britain itself and it took decades of anti-slavery campaigning to extend the ruling to all parts of the Empire.

    Britain outlawed the slave trade in the Empire in 1806. America followed suit in 1808 and, indeed, one of the clauses of the 1815 Treaty of Ghent (which ended Madison's War) bound Britain and the USA to co-operate in suppressing it.

    Slavery was finally abolished throughout the British Empire in 1833. It continued in America for another 3 decades before the American Civil War finally saw its end.

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