Stamped From the Beginning - Part One: Cotton Mather - Chapters 1-3 Summary & Analysis

Ibram X. Kendi
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Summary

Chapter One begins with the introduction of America's founding Puritans who were enthusiastic students of Aristotle. Like the Ancient Greeks they studied, Puritans believed in inherent racial hierarchies which justified slavery. The legalization of slavery was drafted into New England's first constitution in 1636.

Kendi then goes back in time to the Medieval ages in Europe and Africa. While Arab muslims conquered North Africa, Spain, and Portugal, the West African empires of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai flourished at the crossroads of lucrative trade routes. As such, trade between Europeans and West Africans began through Muslim intermediaries. Respected Arab Muslim intellectuals of the time enforced ideas of African slavery in their contemporary writings, surmising that "the negro nations are, as a rule, submissive to slavery" (20). Like Aristotle, these intellectuals invoked what is known as "climate theory" to justify their reasoning...

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