Economic Growth and the Ending of the Transatlantic Slave Trade

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9780195041354: Economic Growth and the Ending of the Transatlantic Slave Trade

This watershed study is the first to consider in concrete terms the consequences of Britain's abolition of the Atlantic slave trade. Why did Britain pull out of the slave trade just when it was becoming important for the world economy and the demand for labor around the world was high? Caught between the incentives offered by the world economy for continuing trade at full tilt and the ideological and political pressures from its domestic abolitionist movement, Britain chose to withdraw, believing, in part, that freed slaves would work for low pay which in turn would lead to greater and cheaper products. In a provocative new thesis, historian David Eltis here contends that this move did not bolster the British economy; rather, it vastly hindered economic expansion as the empire's control of the slave trade and its great reliance on slave labor had played a major role in its rise to world economic dominance. Thus, for sixty years after Britain pulled out, the slave economies of Africa and the Americas flourished and these powers became the dominant exporters in many markets formerly controlled by Britain. Addressing still-volatile issues arising from the clash between economic and ideological goals, this global study illustrates how British abolitionism changed the tide of economic and human history on three continents.

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Review:


"Eltis's magisterial reconstruction of the last, and most dynamic, century of the slave trade and the Atlantic slave economy...should command our attention. In its depth of documentation, its systematic treatment of alternatives, and in its geographical scope, it is a landmark in the history of the slave trade."--Journal of Social History


"A work of prodigious and meticulous scholarship, Eltis's book will be studied and debated well into the next century...Eltis's provocative arguments will require historians to reconsider the entire Anglo-American antislavery movement as well as the place of coerced labor in an emerging industrial and free market Atlantic world."--David Brion Davis,The New York Review of Books


"A provocative book that promises to long be required reading."--Library Journal


"A remarkable book, erudite, breathtaking in sweep of research, original in thought, and masterful in language. It is a landmark in the literature on the transatlantic slave trade."--Journal of Southern History


"Critical to a better understanding of the contribution of the slave trade to Atlantic economic growth."--Journal of American History


"For light on slavery and the slave-trade--the latest, strongest light--it is necessary to turn to the formidable treatise by David Eltis."--Times Literary Supplement


"Eltis has good answers...[T]hat challenge a good many traditional assumptions that historians and economists have held about the place of the slave trade in the world economy. His book will be a landmark for a very long time."--David Brion Davis, Yale University


"A major book and an important contribution to the literature on slavery. It will become the standard work on the impact of slave-trade abolition in the Americas, [and] the operation of the trade during the abolition era...There is much that is new and exciting."--Albion


"Eltis has produced a landmark study in the history of Atlantic slave trade. He combines a mastery of the sources with a critical and encyclopedic grasp of the extensive historiography on the subject."--Seymour Drescher, University of Pittsburgh


"Should immediately attain the status of a standard work...It is carefully done, comprehensive, rich in counterfactuals, and its footnote references are exhaustive...[A] landmark."--International Journal of African Historical Studies


"A monumental work of research, analysis, and scholarly synthesis. Combining extensive statistical material with an encyclopedic mastery of secondary literature, Eltis assesses Britain's efforts to end the trafficking in human cargo...His provocative arguments will challenge specialists in the histories of four continents, at the same time that his fascinating and original data will provide them with evidence for their own studies."--Citation for the 1988 John Ben Snow Foundation Prize (Honorable Mention)


From Library Journal:

Ending the slave trade cost the 19th-century Atlantic economy significant growthparticularly in the Americas, Eltis argues. Using econometric models, his 13 chapters detail a complex case for an ongoing slave trade benefiting Europe, the Americas, and Africa. Abolition was in almost nobody's economic interest, Eltis insists as he builds on Seymour Drescher's Econocide: British slavery in the era of abolition (LJ 5/1/77). Ambitiously extending his earlier work, notably in The Abolition of the Atlantic Slave Trade, edited with James Walvin, Eltis has produced a provocative book that promises to long be required reading for all researchers pursuing two basic questions in the growing revision of the Atlantic slave system: How important was the slave trade; and why did it come to an end?Thomas J. Davis, African American Studies Dept., SUNY at Buffalo
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 1997. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. This study is the first to consider the consequences of Britain s abolition of the Atlantic slave trade for British imperial expansion and the world economy. It argues that the British led the way in ending that trade just when it was beginning to be important for the world economy, when there was a great need for labour around the world, and shows that Britain s control of the slave trade and great reliance on slave labour had played a major role in its empire s rise to world economic dominance. Contesting the view that Britain stood to benefit from the abolition of the slave trade, the author shows that British economic expansion was hindered greatly as a result. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780195041354

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 1997. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. This study is the first to consider the consequences of Britain s abolition of the Atlantic slave trade for British imperial expansion and the world economy. It argues that the British led the way in ending that trade just when it was beginning to be important for the world economy, when there was a great need for labour around the world, and shows that Britain s control of the slave trade and great reliance on slave labour had played a major role in its empire s rise to world economic dominance. Contesting the view that Britain stood to benefit from the abolition of the slave trade, the author shows that British economic expansion was hindered greatly as a result. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780195041354

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