Alexander Crummell on Coleridge and the Politics of Abolitionist Selfhood

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This artricle explores the philosophical roots of Alexander Crummell's abolitionism. It argues that the black abolitionist developed a philosophically sophisticated approach to antislavery politics and to black advancement rooted, in part, in his encounter with Samuel Taylor Coleridge's metaphysics and epistemology. Developing out his encounter with Coleridge and others, Crummell developed a politicized theory of the self. From Coleridge he took an appreciation of anti-instrumental ways of thinking about politics rooted in the alignment of internal qualities of the self with external political organizing. His thought demonstrates the cosmopolitanism and sophistication of antebellum black intellectual and activist life, as well as the ways that theories of selfhood were deployed in radical political movements of the nineteenth century.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-348
Number of pages26
JournalModern Intellectual History
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science


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