The Constitution of the Pennsylvania Society, for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, and the Relief of Free Negroes, Unlawfully, Held in Bondage.

Title: The Constitution of the Pennsylvania Society, for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, and the Relief of Free Negroes, Unlawfully, Held in Bondage. Begun in the Year 1774, and Enlarged on the Twenty-Third of April, 1787. To which are Added, the Acts of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania, for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery. 

Published: 1787

First Edition. Written by Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush and published in 1787. The society was founded on April 14, 1775 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as the Pennsylvania Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage and was the first American abolition society. It was founded by Quakers; particularly Anthony Benezet, a leading Quaker educator and abolitionist. The American Revolution slowed the society’s operations and, in 1784, the society changed its name to the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery and for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage, also known as the Pennsylvania Abolition Society. In 1787, Benjamin Franklin was elected as the Society’s president, with Benjamin Rush and Tench Coxe serving as secretaries. With Franklin and other society members’ influence, the Society successfully petitioned the Pennsylvania legislature in 1788 to amend the Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery of 1780 (included in this volume), to close loopholes found in the Act. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, the Pennsylvania Abolition Society was a world-renowned organization that helped define the anti-slavery movement. The society still exists today and is dedicated to fighting racism and improving race relations. #0453

 

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