The Making of New World Slavery: From the Baroque to the Modern 1492-1800

Overview

At the time when European powers colonized the New World the institution of slavery had almost disappeared from Europe itself. Having overcome an institution widely regarded as oppressive and unfortunate why did they sponsor the construction of racial slave systems in their new colonies? Robin Blackburn traces European doctrines of race and slavery from medieval times to the early modern epoch, and finds that the stigmatization of the ethno-religious Other was given a callous twist by a new culture of ...
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Overview

At the time when European powers colonized the New World the institution of slavery had almost disappeared from Europe itself. Having overcome an institution widely regarded as oppressive and unfortunate why did they sponsor the construction of racial slave systems in their new colonies? Robin Blackburn traces European doctrines of race and slavery from medieval times to the early modern epoch, and finds that the stigmatization of the ethno-religious Other was given a callous twist by a new culture of consumption, freed from an earlier moral economy. The Making of New World Slavery argues that independent commerce, geared to burgeoning consumer markets, was the driving force behind the rise of plantation slavery. The baroque state sought - successfully - to batten on this commerce, and - unsuccessfully - to regulate slavery and race. Successive chapters of the book consider the deployment of slaves in the colonial possessions of the Portuguese, the Spanish, the Dutch, the English and the French. Each are shown to have contributed something to the eventual consolidation of racial slavery and to the plantation revolution of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It is shown that plantation slavery emerged from the impulses of civil society rather than from the strategies of the individual states.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In his companion volume to The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery (Routledge, 1988), Blackburn, editor of the New Left Review, traces the development of slavery in the New World. He argues that independent traders and businessmen intent on capitalizing on the birth of consumer societies were the driving force behind the rise of the Atlantic slave trade and the sustenance of the plantation system. Thus, although early-modern European states endorsed and profited from slavery, private commercial interests are held primarily responsible for the cruelties of slave traffic and the inhumane conditions of the plantation. In his extremely well-researched and readable book, the author also explains how an emerging racial consciousness was used to legitimize New World slavery and how the plantation contributed to the industrial and military success of the United States and Europe. Highly recommended for academic collections.-Raymond J. Palin, St. Thomas Univ., Miami, Fla.
From the Publisher
“Blackburn’s book has finally drawn the veil which concealed or made mysterious the history and development of modem society.”—Darcus Howe, Guardian

“A magnificent work of contemporary scholarship.”—Eric Foner, The Nation

“Sombre, dark and masterly.”—Linda Colley, Independent on Sunday

“An exhaustive, powerfully written and compelling book.”—Anthony Pagden, Times Literary Supplement

“Extremely well-researched and readable ... . Highly recommended.”—Raymond J. Palin, Library Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781859841952
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 5/28/1998
  • Pages: 608
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Robin Blackburn teaches at the New School in New York and the University of Essex in the UK. He is the author of many books, including The Making of New World Slavery, The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery, Age Shock, Banking on Death, and The American Crucible.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction: Slavery and Modernity 1
Pt. 1 The Selection of New World Slavery
I The Old World Background to New World Slavery 31
II The First Phase: Portugal and Africa 95
III Slavery and Spanish America 127
IV The Rise of Brazilian Sugar 161
V The Dutch War for Brazil and Africa 185
VI The Making of English Colonial Slavery 217
VII The Construction of the French Colonial System 277
VIII Racial Slavery and the Rise of the Plantation 307
Pt. 2 Slavery and Accumulation
IX Colonial Slavery and the Eighteenth-Century Boom 371
X The Sugar Islands 401
XI Slavery on the Mainland 457
XII New World Slavery, Primitive Accumulation and British Industrialization 509
Epilogue 581
Index 594
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