By Seymour Drescher
During this vintage research and refutation of Eric Williams's 1944 thesis, Seymour Drescher argues that Britain's abolition of the slave exchange in 1807 resulted now not from the diminishing price of slavery for excellent Britain yet as a substitute from the British public's mobilization opposed to the slave exchange, which compelled London to devote what Drescher phrases "econocide." This motion, he argues, was once hazardous to Britain's monetary pursuits at a time while British slavery used to be truly on the peak of its capability.
Originally released in 1977, Drescher's paintings was once instrumental in undermining the industrial determinist interpretation of abolitionism that had ruled ancient discourse for many years following international struggle II. For this moment variation, which incorporates a foreword through David Brion Davis, Drescher has written a brand new preface, reflecting at the historiography of the British slave alternate considering this book's unique publication.
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Additional info for Econocide: British Slavery in the Era of Abolition
That this vast enterprise, which loomed ever larger in the political economy of the eighteenth-century Atlantic world, should crumble so rapidly before the onslaught of those who insisted on their economic disinterestedness, struck many contemporaries as incredible. The historiographic tradition has been deeply affected by this dramatic reversal of fortune. The quality of mysterious triumph provided assurance for those who shared the abolitionists' vision of providential progress. It was cause for celebration in periods of imperial optimism and a refuge from disheartening events in periods of social violence and disintegration.
Therefore, Williams's own principal measure of significance shows that the British West Indies were absolutely and relatively far more valuable to Britain during the period of intense debate on the imperial slave trade (1788-1807) and on the world slave trade (1814-1820) than during the period when there had been no organized British pressure against the trade (1720-1775). Using tables 2, 3, and 4 one can also compare the British West Indian slave colonies with The 1770s 17 FIGURE 1: AVERAGE ANNUAL VALUE OF EXPORTS AND REEXPORTS FROM ENGLAND AND WALES TO THE BRITISH WEST INDIES Source: E.
In terms of both capital value and of overseas trade, the slave system was expanding, not declining, at the turn of the nineteenth century. The secular decline of the slave colonies within the imperial political economy The 1770s 25 prior to abolitionist successes seems to be a statistical illusion created by ignoring the period 1783-1815. The Slave Trade In focusing first on the Caribbean component of the system we have not overlooked the fact that abolition began not with the slaves already in the West Indies, but with the transatlantic slave trade.