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Use the Wilberforce

England's angst-filled celebration of the abolition of slavery.

12:00 AM, Mar 29, 2007 • By JOSEPH LOCONTE
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[The cynic] reminds us of every evil thing he can find in the history of England since the Norman Conquest. . . . After his best efforts, Britain remains a dull grey against the bitter black of Hitler's Germany. The history of parliamentary democracy is ignored. The broadening liberties of the British Empire are forgotten. The word imperial is used in such a fashion as to black out intelligence and to set every fact in a false perspective. Nobody--least of all the British--would deny the dark spots in British history. But they do not represent the defining matters in the British tradition.

Great Britain's audacious decision to forcibly end the slave trade is part of the uplifting narrative of that tradition. This American, at least, is grateful for that supremely moral act and the freedoms it promoted, on both sides of the Atlantic and beyond.

Joseph Loconte, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, is host of the London-based television/internet program < href="" rel="nofollow">"Britain and America." His most recent book is The End of Illusions: Religious Leaders Confront Hitler's Gathering Storm.