This article argues that Milton scholarship in an age of emboldened white supremacy needs to take account of Milton's own whiteness and especially his role in the historical development of white identity. Based on a close reading of the Hamitic curse, as retold by Michael in book 12 of Paradise Lost, it argues that Milton translated the racial hierarchies of his own day into the split structure of an emergent racial liberalism. Milton remade white identity into the racially unmarked category of universal liberal personhood while carving out an exception for racially marked but strategically unspecified others who may be enslaved with “no wrong, / But justice.”

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