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The Politics of Slavery$
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Laura Brace

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474401142

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474401142.001.0001

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Locke and Hutcheson: Indians, Vagabonds and Drones

Locke and Hutcheson: Indians, Vagabonds and Drones

(p.37) Chapter 3 Locke and Hutcheson: Indians, Vagabonds and Drones
The Politics of Slavery

Laura Brace

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter focuses on Locke, and on the question of how we give slavery a history and think about it as a political relation. It investigates the colonial reading of Locke, his personal involvement in the slave trade and the connections between slavery and civil society. It argues that Locke’s justification of limited slavery needs to be linked to his view of civil society and the state of nature. This helps to explain the Carolinian context of his theory of slavery and the ways in which Native Americans were understood to stand outside the polite and civil world, unable to cultivate their land or their reason. The chapter develops the book’s argument that there are many different kinds of slaveries, rather than one transhistorical pattern. It looks in particular at the scheme for enslaving the English poor put forward by Francis Hutcheson in 1755, and at the status of vagabonds and begging drones. What did it mean to argue that the few were enslavable for the good of the many? The chapter explores the differences between the enslavement of the English poor and slavery in the Caribbean and the salience of race and racialization in understanding seventeenth-century slavery as a historical process and a political relation.

Keywords:   Locke, Native Americans, Hutcheson, civil society, slave trade

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