Here’s a claim you encounter from time to time: The invention of the horse collar eliminated slavery in medieval and early modern Europe. The continent still had plenty of peonage servitude, of course; the serfs in Tsarist Russia, for example, were hardly a beacon of freedom unto the world. Still, where direct slavery persisted in the Ottoman lands and sub-Saharan Africa, and would roar back in the European possessions of the New World, something in Europe caused slavery to fade. And from the fading, there would build the abolitionist movement that would eventually turn the West against even the idea of slavery.
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