Cruikshank pro Slavery

The 1826 satirical cartoon from Robert Cruikshank is seen as a pro slavery and anti abolitionist piece of artwork.  The image appears to be pro slavery because of the subtle clues and details of the cartoon. For example these anti slavery theme is seen in the placement and actions of europeans in the scene, the liveliness of the tide and the natives in the background. Most of the prominent europeans in the cartoon are satirical depictions of abolitionist. These depictions are displayed as corrupt and they appear to be distorting how slavery appears to others. The abolitionist with his back to the viewer has a sign in one hand and a buy off check in his back pocket. Having one of the abolitionist be displayed as corrupt shows how Cruikshank made this piece to be clearly pro slavery. In Cruikshank’s cartoon one of the abolistinst is holding a picture of a slave being flogged by a white man in front of a telescope pointed at peaceful natives waiting on the shore for the slave ships. Also, The abolitionist holding up the picture appears to be cursing god, i see this because his facial expression and how he holds his palms face up to the sky.

This picture is in direct contrast with the ideas and views in The Life of Olaudah Equiano by Olaudah Equiano. This narrative discuss  the grim and downright inhumane reality of the west indies slave trade.  The purpose of creating this narrative was to show the british the reality of the slave trade, in hopes that parliament will abolish it. Equiano show these motives when he writes, “But is not the slave trade entirely a war with the heart of man? And surely that which is begun by breaking down the barriers of virtue involves in its continuance destruction to every principle, and buries all sentiments in ruin!” (Equiano 110). This perspective from equation shows how wrong Cruikshank’s pro slavery image is. Cruikshank’s pro slavery perspective stems from the economic advancement and prosperity that the slave trade creates. Equiano rejects this idea because he feels that the white man should not profit off the backs of African people.

-Conor Morgan

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4 thoughts on “Cruikshank pro Slavery

  1. I think the most important part of this blog is: “Equiano rejects this idea because he feels that the white man should not profit off the backs of African people.” I think this blog could have been enhanced by focusing more in the ways in which the image depicted corruption. I know you mentioned the man with the invoice in his pocket, but I feel that could have been expanded on more (also, an image would have been nice). However, I would have liked to see your justification further expanded as to how Equiano could reject this idea, but then also own slaves himself? Is it okay for African people to profit off the backs of other African people?

    Extra Credit comment: 1/25

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  2. It is quite clear what side you are arguing for in the Cartoon vs Equiano debate, which is a good thing. You present your claim by using a lot of detail. The main argument you are making, from what I’ve read, is “This picture is in direct contrast with the ideas and views in The Life of Olaudah Equiano by Olaudah Equiano. This narrative discuss the grim and downright inhumane reality of the west indies slave trade.” While you could easily show how Equiano fought against slavery, it might be good to look at some of the cons, it may change how you view the differences between the writer and the cartoonist.

    Extra credit 6/25

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  3. The most origional idea in this post is: “Cruikshank’s pro slavery perspective stems from the economic advancement and prosperity that the slave trade creates”. Another strong point you have is you supply a very rich description of the cartoon. You can improve this post and analysis of the cartoon by delving further into the details of the cartoon and putting them in a historical context.By picking just one historical reference from the cartoon to analyze your post would be stellar.

    Extra Credit 1/25

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  4. Finding the contradiction goes to show that there is perplexity to the cartoon. Adding the image would have been cool to see it visually.

    EC 1/25

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