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Abolition: A History of Slavery and Antislavery

 
 
 
 
Abolition: A History of Slavery and Antislavery
Author: Seymour Drescher
ISBN 13: 9780521600859
ISBN 10: 521600855
Edition: 1
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication Date: 2009-07-27
Format: Paperback
Pages: 484
List Price: $29.99
 
 

Slavery has existed throughout the world since ancient times. In the 1700s, the economist Arthur Young famously estimated that nineteen out of twenty people in the world were enslaved. By the end of the twentieth century, that estimate had been revised to less than one person out of one hundred. Abolition examines the impact of violence, economics and civil society in accounting for the ebb and flow of slavery and antislavery over the last five centuries. Seymour Drescher chronicles the complex web of social and political forces that promoted both the growth and eventual eradication of institutionalized slavery. Although their own small corner of the globe was least enmeshed with slavery, Europeans first interacted with peoples of other continents after 1450 to create, in the Americas, the trans-Atlantic slave trade—the most dynamic productive and exploitative system of coerced labor in human history. After three more centuries, these same intercontinental actions produced an abolition movement that successfully challenged the institution at the peak of its dynamism. During the 1800s, a new surge of European expansion constructed Old World empires under the banner of antislavery. At the apogee of this new colonialism, however, twentieth-century Europe itself was inundated by deadly new systems of slavery: forced labor in the Soviet Gulag and the Third Reich. Today, modern-day forms of slavery—child labor, coerced commercial sexual slavery, and debt bondage—persist, but the institution has largely been eradicated. Ambitious in scope and unique in its global take on the subject, Abolition will appeal to any reader interested in world history or human rights.