Image 'Slavery as it exists in America. Slavery as it exists in England', 1850

TLF ID M008736

This is a black-and-white print showing two contrasting scenes of 'slavery' produced by J Haven of Boston, USA. The top scene shows African American slaves in the US southern states dancing and playing the banjo after their day's work is over. The bottom scene shows four episodes of people lamenting the 'slavery' of work in the factories of England. Right at the bottom there is a portrait of George Thompson, prominent English abolitionist and famous anti-slavery speaker.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This print is a valuable source for the year 9 history depth study elective, The industrial revolution (1750-1914), particularly in relation to the experiences of men, women and children during industrialisation and their changing way of life. The illustration at the bottom is copied from Edward Lytton Bulwer's 'England and the English', first published in 1833. It refers to child labour, very long working hours and short life expectancy in English factories and mines.
  • The illustration at the top is useful for another year 9 depth study elective, Movement of peoples (1750-1901), which involves a study of the influence of the industrial revolution on the movement of peoples throughout the world, including the transatlantic slave trade. It presents a common theme in pro-slavery arguments put forward by slave owners in the South - that their slaves were better treated than the workers in England's factories.
  • The fact that this print was produced by a citizen of Boston provides a cautionary note about generalisations in history. Boston is frequently presented as the anti-slavery capital of the northern states but J Haven was so concerned about the southern threat of secession from the USA if their rights to keep slaves were threatened that he produced this astonishing propagandist image depicting slave owners as kind and generous and slaves as happy within their bondage.
Learning area
  • History
  • Studies of society and environment

Other details

  • Author
  • Person: John Haven
  • Description: author
  • Contributor
  • Name: The Library of Congress
  • Organization: The Library of Congress
  • Description: content provider
  • Address: UNITED STATES
  • URL:
  • Person: John Haven
  • Description: author
  • Publisher
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organization: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Description: Publisher
  • Address: VIC, AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
Access profile
  • Generic
Learning Resource Type
  • Image
  • © Commonwealth of Australia, 2011, except where indicated otherwise. You may copy, communicate and modify this material for non-commercial educational purposes provided you retain all acknowledgements associated with the material.