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In one form or another, slavery has existed throughout the world for millennia. It helped to change the world, and the world transformed the institution. In the 1450s, when Europeans from the small corner of the globe least enmeshed in the institution first interacted with peoples of other continents, they created, in the Americas, the most dynamic, productive, and exploitative system of coerced labor in human history. Three centuries later these same intercontinental actions produced a movement that successfully challenged the institution at the peak of its dynamism. Within another century a new surge of European expansion constructed Old World empires under the banner of antislavery. However, twentieth-century Europe itself was inundated by a new system of slavery, larger and more deadly than its earlier system of New World slavery. This book examines these dramatic expansions and contractions of the institution of slavery and the impact of violence, economics, and civil society in the ebb and flow of slavery and antislavery during the last five centuries.
The past half-century has produced a mass of information regarding slave resistance, ranging from individual acts of disobedience to massive uprisings. Many of these acts of rebellion have been studied extensively, yet the ultimate goals of the insurgents remain open for discussion. Recently, several historians have suggested that slaves achieved their own freedom by resisting slavery, which counters the predominant argument that abolitionist pressure groups, parliamentarians, and the governmental and anti-governmental armies of the various slaveholding empires were the prime movers behind emancipation. Marques, one of the leading historians of slavery and abolition, argues that, in most cases, it is impossible to establish a direct relation between slaves’ uprisings and the emancipation laws that would be approved in the western countries. Following this presentation, his arguments are taken up by a dozen of the most outstanding historians in this field. In a concluding chapter, Marques responds briefly to their comments and evaluates the degree to which they challenge or enhance his view.
Slavery and coerced labor have been among the most ubiquitous of human institutions both in time - from ancient times to the present - and in place, having existed in virtually all geographic areas and societies. This volume covers the period from the independence of Haiti to modern perceptions of slavery by assembling twenty-eight original essays, each written by scholars acknowledged as leaders in their respective fields. Issues discussed include the sources of slaves, the slave trade, the social and economic functioning of slave societies, the responses of slaves to enslavement, efforts to abolish slavery continuing to the present day, the flow of contract labor and other forms of labor control in the aftermath of abolition, and the various forms of coerced labor that emerged in the twentieth century under totalitarian regimes and colonialism.
Volume one of a two volume set featuring alphabetically arranged entries that cover a wide range of topics related to the antislavery movement and abolitionist activities in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, highlighting people and events that played a key role in ending slavery in the United States.
David Brion Davis's books on the history of slavery reflect some of the most distinguished and influential thinking on the subject to appear in the past generation. The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution, the sequel to Davis's Pulitzer Prize-winning The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture and the second volume of a proposed trilogy, is a truly monumental work of historical scholarship that first appeared in 1975 to critical acclaim both academic and literary. This reprint of that important work includes a new preface by the author, in which he situates the book's argument within the historiographic debates of the last two decades.
The abolition of slavery across large parts of the world was one of the most significant transformations in the nineteenth century, shaping economies, societies, and political institutions. This book shows how the international context was essential in shaping the abolition of slavery.
African slavery was pervasive in Spain's Atlantic empire yet remained in the margins of the imperial economy until the end of the eighteenth century when the plantation revolution in the Caribbean colonies put the slave traffic and the plantation at the center of colonial exploitation and conflict. The international group of scholars brought together in this volume explain Spain's role as a colonial pioneer in the Atlantic world and its latecomer status as a slave-trading, plantation-based empire. These contributors map the broad contours and transformations of slave-trafficking, the plantation, and antislavery in the Hispanic Atlantic while also delving into specific topics that include: the institutional and economic foundations of colonial slavery; the law and religion; the influences of the Haitian Revolution and British abolitionism; antislavery and proslavery movements in Spain; race and citizenship; and the business of the illegal slave trade.

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