David Brion Davis

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David Brion Davis (February 16, 1927 – April 14, 2019) was an American intellectual and cultural historian, and a leading authority on slavery and abolition in the Western world. He was a Sterling Professor of History at Yale University, and founder and director of Yale's Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition.


  • Nothing is proved by the expectation of some Northerners that the clause would eventually put an end to slavery, for there was widespread confusion of "slavery" with the "slave trade." Both American and British abolitionists assumed that an end to slave imports would lead automatically to the amelioration and gradual abolition of slavery.
    • The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution, 1770-1823, page 129. [1]
  • One cannot question the genuineness of Jefferson’s liberal dreams. He was one of the first statesmen in any part of the world to advocate concrete measures for restricting and eradicating Negro slavery.

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