Jonathan Edwards and Slavery
One of the more thorny issues of Edwards' life and legacy has to do with his position on slavery. It has been long known that Edwards himself owned slaves. More recently, Edwards' defense of slave ownership was judiciously assessed in an excellent article by Ken Minkema in the Massachusetts Historical Review. (Click here to read that article.)
However, it is interesting to note that though Edwards was himself a slaveowner, his direct intellectual descendants including his own son JE Jr. were among the first New England abolitionists. Minkema and Stout wrote a companion piece to the first slavery article in the Journal of American History. (Click here to read that article.)
In recent months, there have emerged a couple of further comments on Edwards and slavery from Sweeney & Guelzo, Chamberlain, Marsden, and Minkema.
It seems to me that this issue was blown wide open by Minkema's two articles listed above, and is ripe for further analysis, especially given that there are estimated to be more slaves in the world today than at any other time in history.