The “Golden Rule”: Invoking the First Protest Against Slavery in the United States

In the Gospel of Matthew 7:12, Jesus says: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets."

On April 18, 1688 in Germantown, Pennsylvania, Jesus’s words in Matthew’s Gospel, became the underlying principle for the first written protest against slavery in the English colonies.

The Germantown settlers were disturbed that so many Philadelphia colonists owned slaves. For them, slavery was contrary to the teachings of the Bible, underscored in their 1688 petition: “There is a saying that we shall do to all men like as we will be done ourselves, making no difference of what generation, descent, or color they are.”

Engage with the Bible—in its influence on the social consciousness of people over the centuries!


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