Friday, August 30, 2019

Abraham Lincoln on "the invention of negroes"

Most patent attorneys are aware that Abraham Lincoln is the only U.S. President to obtain a
U.S. patent. Many know that the words "fire of genius" originated from a speech given by Lincoln, first in
1858 (April 6, 1858), and then in 1859. See "Fire of genius" speech and Google Books

Less well-appreciated are some other words that appear in the Fire of Genius speech:

Though not apposite to my present purpose, it is but justice to the fruitfulness of that period, to mention two other important events
-- the Lutheran Reformation in 1517, and, still earlier, the invention of negroes, or, of the present mode of using them, in 1434.

Prior to the "fire of genius" speech, Lincoln had done research for a speech to the Colonization Society in the year 1855, with notes therefrom including:

1434- A portaguse [sic] captain, on the coast of Guinea, seizes a few Affrican lads, and sells them in the South of Spain.

1501-2-3. Slaves are carried from Africa to the Spanish colonies in America.

1516-17 Charles 5th. of Spain gives encouragement to the African Slave trade.

1562- John Hawkins carries slaves to the British West Indies.

1620 A dut[c]h ship carries a cargo of African slaves to Virginia.

1626- Slaves introduced into New-York.

1630 to 41. Slaves introduced into Massachusetts.

link: Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 2.

Lincoln was noting the 1434 "invention," on the basis that this was the first time humans had made slaves of others purely on racial grounds, unrelated to other factors,
such as conquests in war.

Separately, see also Fourth Debate: Charleston, Illinois, September 18, 1858


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