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Halliday: One Man’s Quest to Abolish Slavery

By William “Doc” Halliday

Slavery has existed in nearly every culture, nation, and religion from time immemorial through today. The Code of Hammurabi (c 1760 BC) refers to it as an established institution. Slavery was a legally recognized system in which human beings were legally considered the chattel or property of another. In Abolition: A History of Slavery and Antislavery © 2009, Seymour Dresche writes "The most crucial and frequently utilized aspect of the condition is a communally recognized right by some individuals to possess, buy, sell, discipline, transport, liberate, or otherwise dispose of the bodies and behavior of other individuals." While slavery has been made de jure illegal in all countries, there are an estimated 25-30 million people currently enslaved in various parts of the world.

Perhaps the first recorded effort to abolish slavery began in the third century BC. Ashoka Maurya who at that time was the emperor of the Maurya Dynasty ruling almost all of the Indian subcontinent abolished the slave trade and encouraged people to treat slaves well, but did not abolish slavery itself.