Level of Education

Master's Graduate


This paper is in no way an apology for the institution of slavery in any form. In fact, it is a reiteration of Biblical doctrine and natural rights philosophy that posit all humans are created equal. The institution of slavery knew few bounds throughout recorded history and was as ubiquitous and durable as the activities of marriage or warfare, practiced by every culture and religion (Drescher 2009, 7-8, 12-39). Biblical text is devoid of specific prohibition against slavery, a fact sadly used as justification for its continuation. The Quakers, however, were one of the few religious groups who invoked Scriptural admonitions to publicly question the status-quo of the seemingly unshakeable “peculiar institution” in the thirteen colonies. This paper will discuss a brief historical background of manumission, the evolution of manumission in Virginia and the natural rights doctrines and Quaker teachings that guided notable Virginian slave holders, including Lynchburg’s founder John Lynch, to voluntarily manumit their slaves nearly eighty years before Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.