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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.
Received historical wisdom casts abolitionists as bourgeois, mostly white reformers burdened by racial paternalism and economic conservatism. Manisha Sinha overturns this image, broadening her scope beyond the antebellum period usually associated with abolitionism and recasting it as a radical social movement in which men and women, black and white, free and enslaved found common ground in causes ranging from feminism and utopian socialism to anti-imperialism and efforts to defend the rights of labor. Drawing on extensive archival research, including newly discovered letters and pamphlets, Sinha documents the influence of the Haitian Revolution and the centrality of slave resistance in shaping the ideology and tactics of abolition. This book is a comprehensive new history of the abolition movement in a transnational context. It illustrates how the abolitionist vision ultimately linked the slave’s cause to the struggle to redefine American democracy and human rights across the globe.
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.
The age of British abolitionism came into consolidated strength in 1787-88 with the first mass campaign against the slave trade and ended just half a century later in 1838 with a mass petition movement against Negro Apprenticeship. Drescher focuses on this critical fifty-year period, when the people of the Empire effectively pressured and eventually altered national policy. Presenting a major reassessment of the roots, nature, and significance of Britain's successful struggle against slavery, he illuminates a novel turn in the history of antislavery, when for the first time, the most effective agents in the abolition process were non-slave masses, including working men and women. This not only set Britain off from ancient Rome, medieval western Europe, and early modern Russia, but, in scale and duration, it distinguished Britain from its 19th-century continental European counterparts as well. Viewing British abolitionism against the backdrop of larger national and international events, this provocative study challenges readers to look anew at the politics of slavery and social change in a prominent era of British history.
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.
Takes a fresh look at the history of democracy, broadening the traditional view with previously unexplored examples. This substantial reference work critically re-examines the history of democracy, from ancient history to possible directions it may take in the future. 44 chapters explore the origins of democracy and explore new - and sometimes surprising - examples from around the world. Each of the 9 parts introduces the period, followed by 3 to 7 case studies.

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