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HISA04H3 Lecture Notes - John Ledyard

Course Code
William Nelson

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HISA04 Nov. 12
Also known as Gustavas Vassa (name given to him by
his first master, in Europe), Michael, and Jacob
Born in 1745, in Nigeria
Purchased his freedom 11 July 1766
He was educated and became part of abolition
His works were translated in many languages
The Language of his Masters
His version of his story conforms to European ideas about history and the
development of civilization
o The “state of nature”: From an ideal state in Africa
o “The dark ages”: The interruption of kidnapping, enslavement, Middle
o Civilization: Culmination in freedom of economic enterprise, scientific
discovery, and devout Christianity
Why would someone write an autobiography?
give a voice
to get attention
defend your character
to evoke sympathy in readers
He presented his story as a travel book, memoir, and a novel (sentimental novels that
would garner sympathy)
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