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Economic Growth and the Ending of the Transatlantic Slave Trade

David Eltis (College Master, Algonquin College, Ontario)



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Oxford University Press Inc
06 August 1987
British & Irish history; Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900; English Civil War; Economic theory & philosophy; International 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.
By:   David Eltis (College Master Algonquin College Ontario)
Imprint:   Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 236mm,  Width: 157mm,  Spine: 31mm
Weight:   742g
ISBN:   9780195041354
ISBN 10:   0195041356
Pages:   448
Publication Date:   06 August 1987
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Reviews for Economic Growth and the Ending of the Transatlantic Slave Trade

'extensive study ... David Eltis has written an excellent book that will be a landmark for some time to come.' P.C. Emmer, Centre for the History of European Expansion, Leiden, International Journal of Maritime History 'Eltis has good answers, but not crude or simplistic ones, that 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 'for light on slavery and the slave-trade - the latest, strongest light - it is necessary to turn to the formidable treatise by David Eltis ... The analysis, supported at every step by graphs, citations, tables and whatever else is required is rigorously economic. ELtis never allows his readers to lose sight of the fact that slavery was above all an economic institution.' Times Literary Supplement

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