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Exodus and LiberationDeliverance Politics from John Calvin to Martin Luther King Jr.$
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John Coffey

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199334223

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199334223.001.0001

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“Yours for the Jubilee”

“Yours for the Jubilee”

The Abolitionists’ Scriptural Imagination, 1808–1865

(p.107) 4 “Yours for the Jubilee”
Exodus and Liberation

John Coffey

Oxford University Press

After the ending of the Atlantic slave trade, the attention of abolitionists turned to the problem of emancipation. By the 1830s, many supported immediate emancipation, turning biblical mottoes into urgent imperatives: “Let my people go!” “Proclaim liberty throughout the land,” “Break every yoke,” “Release the oppressed.” This chapter shows how British and American activists wove biblical traditions of liberation into their speeches, sermons, tracts, poems, hymns, and iconography. Abolitionists imitated the Hebrew prophets and depicted Jesus as the liberator of slaves. In the United States, they encountered fierce resistance from proslavery Protestants, and in the Civil War, both the Confederacy and the Union saw themselves as fighting against an oppressive Pharaoh. In the North, emancipation was celebrated as a new exodus, a Year of Jubilee.

Keywords:   Wilberforce, Empire, antislavery, proslavery, William Lloyd Garrison, Jubilee, emancipation, Civil War

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