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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ It was suspected that he wished to abolish slavery, to found schools, to build roads and to modernize the country.
▪ The 1787 Constitution, however liberal in tone, did not actually abolish slavery.
▪ Was the pressure to abolish serfdom and slavery then economic?
▪ They carried away from him the observation that only women could abolish slavery.
▪ She was born before the turn of the century, so it is likely that her parents had been born into slavery.
▪ Annie had been born in slavery, and this made her a notable citizen.
▪ They had been born into slavery, and their parents and grandparents before them.
▪ Many were sold into slavery by their fathers when they were just 12 or 13.
▪ Sometimes this was done by Christians selling themselves into slavery.
▪ Some sell their children into slavery or prostitution.
▪ During that period he claimed to have been captured by Barbary pirates near Marseilles and sold into slavery in Tunis.
▪ In the early pages of the Old Testament, Joseph was cruelly treated by his brothers, who sold him into slavery.
Slavery was abolished after the Civil War.
▪ At first this seemed strange to some of the staff who saw it as only one step away from slavery.
▪ Come me little washer lad, come let's away, We're bound down to slavery for fourpence a day.
▪ He evoked portions of the Bible to justify slavery in a speech he prepared for a debate in the Alabama Senate.
▪ However, it is a small price to pay for the end of oppression and slavery.
▪ Madison even helped assure his fellow Virginians that slavery was more secure than ever.
▪ That the nation must expand into Florida and make it safe for slavery was not questioned.
▪ The reformers were charged with placing an abstract moralism above the discipline of the historical and present reality of slavery.
▪ To make this clearer, consider the case of human slavery.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Slavery \Slav"er*y\, n.; pl. Slaveries. [See 2d Slave.]

  1. The condition of a slave; the state of entire subjection of one person to the will of another.

    Disguise thyself as thou wilt, still, slavery, said I, still thou art a bitter draught!

    I wish, from my soul, that the legislature of this state [Virginia] could see the policy of a gradual abolition of slavery. It might prevent much future mischief.

  2. A condition of subjection or submission characterized by lack of freedom of action or of will.

    The vulgar slaveries rich men submit to.
    --C. Lever.

    There is a slavery that no legislation can abolish, -- the slavery of caste.
    --G. W. Cable.

  3. The holding of slaves.

    Syn: Bondage; servitude; inthrallment; enslavement; captivity; bond service; vassalage.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1550s, "severe toil, hard work, drudgery;" from slave (v.) + -ery. Meaning "state of servitude" is from 1570s; meaning "keeping or holding of slaves" is from 1728.


n. 1 An institution or social practice of owning human beings as property, especially for use as forced laborers. 2 A condition of servitude endured by a slave. 3 (context figuratively English) A condition in which one is captivated or subjugated, as by greed or drugs.

  1. n. the state of being under the control of another person [syn: bondage, thrall, thralldom, thraldom]

  2. the practice of owning slaves [syn: slaveholding]

  3. work done under harsh conditions for little or no pay


Slavery is a legal or economic system in which principles of property law are applied to humans allowing them to be classified as property, to be owned, bought and sold accordingly, and they cannot withdraw unilaterally from the arrangement. While a person is enslaved, the owner is entitled to the productivity of the slave's labour, without any remuneration. The rights and protection of the slave may be regulated by laws and customs in a particular time and place, and a person may become a slave from the time of their capture, purchase or birth.

Today, chattel slavery is unlawful in all countries, but a person may still be described as a slave if he or she is forced to work for another person without an ability on their part to unilaterally terminate the arrangement. Such situations are today commonly referred to as "practices similar to slavery". The present form of the slave trade is commonly referred to as human trafficking.

Slavery existed before written history and in many cultures. It was once institutionally recognized by most societies, but has now been outlawed in all countries, the last being Mauritania in 2007. However, it continues through such practices as debt bondage, serfdom, domestic servants kept in captivity, certain adoptions in which children are forced to work as slaves, child soldiers, human trafficking, and forced marriage. Accordingly, there are more slaves today than at any time in history, with an estimated 45 million slaves worldwide.

Usage examples of "slavery".

Having been led to allude to domestic slavery so frequently already, I am unwilling to close without referring more particularly to Mr.

I believe--and that is what I meant to allude to there--I believe it has endured because during all that time, until the introduction of the Nebraska Bill, the public mind did rest all the time in the belief that slavery was in course of ultimate extinction.

Also, it would be open to show, by contemporaneous history, that this mode of alluding to slaves and slavery, instead of speaking of them, was employed on purpose to exclude from the Constitution the idea that there could be property in man.

Slavery in ancient times and feudal bondage were stages on a long road that led to the artisanship of the classical centuries when the producer was master of the means of production.

Yes, I would that, less generous, he would oppress, He would chain me, upbraid me, burn deep brands for hate, Than with this mask of freedom and gorgeousness Bespangle my slavery, mock my strange fate.

A benefit does not, therefore, cease to be a benefit because it is bestowed by a slave, but is all the greater on that account, because not even slavery could restrain him from bestowing it.

The Missouri Compromise, made in 1820 upon the occasion of the admission of Missouri into the Union as a slave State, whereby, in consideration of such admission, slavery was forever excluded from the Northwest Territory, was ruthlessly repealed in 1854, by a Congress elected in the interests of the slave power, the intent being to force slavery into that vast territory which had so long been dedicated to freedom.

The new year of 1854 found slavery excluded from more than half the States by State Constitutions, and from most of the National territory by Congressional prohibition.

I think he says in some of his speeches indeed, I have one here now--that he saw evidence of a policy to allow slavery to be south of a certain line, while north of it it should be excluded, and he saw an indisposition on the part of the country to stand upon that policy, and therefore he set about studying the subject upon original principles, and upon original principles he got up the Nebraska Bill!

I did not merely say that I would dislike to be put to the test, but I said clearly, if I were put to the test, and a Territory from which slavery had been excluded should present herself with a State constitution sanctioning slavery,--a most extraordinary thing, and wholly unlikely to happen,--I did not see how I could avoid voting for her admission.

Mexican laws would control that question during the Territorial existence, and that these old Mexican laws excluded slavery.

They also found a law existing, supposed to be valid, by which slavery was excluded from almost all the territory the United States then owned.

He selects parts of the history of the United States upon the subject of slavery, and treats it as the whole, omitting from his historical sketch the legislation of Congress in regard to the admission of Missouri, by which the Missouri Compromise was established and slavery excluded from a country half as large as the present United States.

When, therefore, in 1819, Missouri, having formed a State constitution without excluding slavery, and with slavery already actually existing within its limits, knocked at the door of the Union for admission, almost the entire representation of the nonslaveholding States objected.

In excluding slavery north of the line, the same language is employed as in the Ordinance of 1787.