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Following the publication of his autobiography and fearing recapture and return to slavery, in 1845 the abolitionist Frederick Douglass embarked on an eighteen-month lecture tour of the United Kingdom, during which his thinking on the subject of abolitionism developed significantly. While this period in Douglass’s life has received only modest scholarly attention, even less has been paid to the fact that the tour commenced in Ireland –then arguably more akin to a colony than an integral region of the UK. Drawing on archival research and scholarship that advocates for a more interconnected sense of place, a more oceanic perspective on history and consequently a better sense of how political activity is forged relationally, the paper traces Douglass’s journey through the Irish nodes of the abolitionist Atlantic network. In the process, it considers the degree to which Douglass was influenced by this colonial and deeply sectarian society, it illuminates a forgotten world of Irish abolitionist activity, and contributes to debates regarding intersecting histories and geographies in the Atlantic World.


Social and Cultural Geography



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