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The mighty experiment : free labor vs. slavery in British emancipation

Author: Seymour Drescher
Publisher: New York : Oxford University Press, ©2002.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"By the mid-eighteenth century, the transatlantic slave trade was considered to be a necessary and stabilizing factor in the capitalist economies of Europe and the expanding Americas. Britain was the most influential power in this system which seemed to have the potential for unbounded growth. In 1833, the British empire became the first to liberate its slaves and then to become a driving force toward global  Read more...
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Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Seymour Drescher
ISBN: 0195093461 9780195093469
OCLC Number: 47160943
Description: vi, 307 pages ; 26 cm
Contents: 1. Modern Slavery and Modern Freedom --
2. The Free Labor Ideology: Adam Smith --
3. From Production to Reproduction: The Population Principle --
4. Adam Smith's Epigone and the Retreat from the Free Labor Ideology --
5. Heredity, Environment, and Change --
6. Sierra Leone and Haiti: Emancipation as an Experimental Science --
7. Experimental Alternatives to Slavery, 1791-1833 --
8. The Mighty Experiment --
9. Expanding the Experiment --
10. The Experiment Eroded --
11. The Experiment in Crisis: Sugar, Slaves, and Cotton --
12. An Experiment Abandoned --
13. Some Lessons.
Responsibility: Seymour Drescher.
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Abstract:

After creating a complex system of slavery, in the late 18th century the British Empire became the first to divest itself of slavery. Seymour Drescher explores the history of the debate over slavery  Read more...

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Awarded the 2003 Frederick Douglass Book Prize Drawing on an astonishing range of primary and secondary sources, Drescher has produced what must surely be the definitive account of the competing Read more...

 
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   schema:reviewBody ""By the mid-eighteenth century, the transatlantic slave trade was considered to be a necessary and stabilizing factor in the capitalist economies of Europe and the expanding Americas. Britain was the most influential power in this system which seemed to have the potential for unbounded growth. In 1833, the British empire became the first to liberate its slaves and then to become a driving force toward global emancipation. There has been endless debate over the reasons behind this decision. This has been portrayed on the one hand as a rational disinvestment in a foundering overseas system, and on the other as the most expensive per capita expenditure for colonial reform in modern history." "In this work, Seymour Drescher argues that the plan to end British slavery, rather than being a timely escape from a failing system, was, on the contrary, the crucial element in the greatest humanitarian achievement of all time. The Mighty Experiment explores how politicians, colonial bureaucrats, pamphleteers, and scholars taking anti-slavery positions validated their claims through rational scientific arguments going beyond moral and polemical rhetoric, and how the infiltration of the social sciences into this political debate was designed to minimize agitation on both sides and provide common ground." "This study outlines the relationship of economic growth to moral issues in regard to slavery, and will appeal to scholars of British history, nineteenth century imperial history, the history of slavery, and those interested in the history of human rights."--Jacket." ;
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