Dictionary and Journal

Abolitionism Dictionary Definitions

By saying abolishing we mean the action and the consequence of abolishing. This verb, according to the Digopaul, describes the fact of leaving without effect, invalidating, canceling or repealing a custom, a precept or a law.

Associated with abolition, the notion of abolitionism arises, which identifies the doctrine that promotes the revocation of those laws, decrees or precepts that do not respect human rights or contemplate moral principles. This idea is generally used to quote the movement that sought the abolition of slavery.

It should be noted that abolitionism had its own peculiarities in each nation. Portugal is considered as one of the pioneers in the matter, since it was the Marquis of Pombal who decided to abolish slavery in that country around 1761. In 1854, he decreed the liberation of all slaves from his colonies, until, fifteen years later, the absolute abolition of slavery in the entire Portuguese empire was finalized.

In this area, we must emphasize that one of the most important conflicts in history that had as its central axis the abolition of slavery was the War of Secession of the United States carried out in the 19th century. A warlike conflict in which the States of the North, defined by being clearly anti-slavery, and those of the South, the so-called Confederate States of America, were in favor of such slavery.

This civil war had several causes, but one of the main ones was precisely that this way of unjust and criminal submission was abolished in the north. However, at the end of the war and as a consequence of President Abraham Lincoln managing to defeat the south of the country, it would be repealed in 1865 throughout the territory.

The world of television and cinema has perfectly captured the cruelty of slavery through works such as, for example, Steven Spielberg’s film Amistad (1997) that revolves around the real case of a group of African slaves who were discovered by the United States on a Spanish ship in the mid-19th century. These brought with them a controversy within the American society about whether to consider them free or whether to maintain their condition of slavery.

In the same way, we cannot ignore the value in this sense of the North and South television series (1985), which revolves around two young people who become friends in a military academy and who will see their relationship broken when the aforementioned war breaks out. Secession and are on rival sides: one in which he rejects slavery and another in which he supports it.

Beyond the accepted use related to slavery, abolition has many other meanings. The word is linked, for example, to a group that promotes that animals are not treated as properties and that strives to achieve recognition of the rights of all species.

Abolitionism is also promoted in relation to forced prostitution, with the intention of fighting against the reasons that generate it (coercion, economic conditions, etc.).

On the other hand, there are abolitionist currents regarding wage labor (which is considered an extension of slavery) and prisons (mostly for the punishment of crimes whose direct victims are not people).