During the era of revolution, independence, and emancipation in the north Atlantic, "slavery" and "freedom" were fluid and contested concepts. Individuals and groups turned to courts of law to define and enforce the status of indigenous Americans, forcibly imported Africans, and colonizing Europeans -- and their progeny. Legal institutions of the state manufactured and mediated a new, dynamic concept of freedom, inventing categories of race and codifying white privilege. In this collection of documents from the French, British, Spanish, and Portuguese empires, Peabody and Grinberg introduce the voices of slaves, slave-holders, jurists, legislators, and others who struggled to critique, overturn, justify, or simply describe the social order in which they found themselves. Discussion questions, illustrations, a glossary, and a bibliography allow students to analyze these rich documents and discern their lasting influences.