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Why lawyers were as culpable as any slaver

The focus on individual traders like Colston means lawyers are out of sight—but they facilitated the trade

Attorney general Philip Yorke, of the Yorke–Talbot slavery opinion. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A slave is a human being who is the property of someone else: a human being who can be owned, bought and sold just like other forms of property. Property rights, in turn, depend on being recognised and enforceable by a system of law.

Of course, a person can be kept captive by brute force and forced to work on pain of violence, and this too perhaps can be called slavery. But for slavery to…

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