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The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery: 1776-1848 (Verso World History Series) New Edition Edition

5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1844674756
ISBN-10: 1844674754
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Editorial Reviews


“A challenge to those who fondly suppose that slavery declined as ideas of Western ‘enlightenment’ spread ... Blackburn deserves praise for undermining complacency about the past—and the present.”—Christopher Hitchens, New York Newsday

“Blackburn’s highly intelligent and well-written book is a substantial contribution. In this story the central event is the French Revolution.”—Victor Kiernen, London Review of Books

“An incisive synthesis of developments in North America, the Caribbean and Latin America. Blackburn’s book is bold and original.”—Richard Dunn, Times Literary Supplement

“One of the finest studies of slavery and abolition to appear in many years.”—Eric Foner, Dissident

“The first historian since Eric Williams to present a comprehensive interpretation. But Blackburn, profiting from and admirably synthesizing the vast scholarship produced since Capitalism and Slavery (1944), is far less rigid and doctrinaire, much more attuned to the workings of politics. Unlike Williams, he includes slavery throughout the Western hemisphere.”—David Brion Davis, New York Review of Books

About 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.

Product Details

  • Series: Verso World History Series
  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; New Edition edition (April 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844674754
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844674756
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.6 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #457,033 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Another excellent book on slavery by Robin Blackburn. This book is an outstanding synthesis of a large literature on the abolition of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and of slavery in the Caribbean and Spanish America. Blackburn opens with a concise description of the highly economically successful state of colonial slavery that existed in the Atlantic world and of the powerful forces fostered its development and apparently guaranteed its stability. Briefly, and this is the subject of another outstanding Blackburn book on the origins of colonial slavery, expanding European capitalism backed up by the success of the powerful imperial British and French states resulted in vigorous slavery based production systems. How this system cracked is the subject of this book. In a series of very well written and documented chapters, Blackburn discusses the origins of anti-slavery agitation, particularly in Britain, the American colonies of Britain, and France, the impacts of the American, French and Spanish American Revolutions, the great Haitian slave revolt, and the post-Napoleonic events leading to campaigns against the slave trade and for abolition. Briefly, the abolition of the slave trade and slave emancipation occurred in the Caribbean and Spanish America because of favorable conjunctions of 3 major factors; political crises reducing the influence of slave holding interests and usually in settings of revolution or (in the case of Britain) considerable pressure for political reform, threatened or actual major slave resistance, and metropolitan political currents that mobilized relatively broad political coalitions in which anti-slavery was an important component of reformist or actual revolutionary movements. Blackburn is particularly good at showing the complex interactions between these features.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
In the 1760-1770s a handful of European settlements ruled over nearly three million blacks. Imprisoning them and exploiting their labor to produce a range of goods, from agricultural products, to spices and the finished products from mining of precious metals and rare minerals. By 1848, except for the U.S. and Brazil, the major systems of colonial slavery had been swept away either by independence movements, slave revolts, abolitionists agitation, or some combination of all three. This book goes a long way in telling us how this was accomplished.

It is the story of how in Suriname -- in what was called the "First Boni War" (1765-1777) -- a group of escaped black slaves in a bid for their own independence, revolted, killed the colonists, and took over their Plantations.

The masterminds of this revolt were called maroons. The maroons and their descendants were mostly escaped slaves who had formed communities in the woods where they had not only survived as renegade tribal groups, but also had even thrived, developing their own culture in their self-made homes in the wilderness.

Throughout the Caribbean islands, especially in Haiti, and in both the East and West Indies, the maroons had been a chronic problem for Europeans from the time of their first settlements. Communities of maroons also appeared and often flourished in the wilderness of the Southern USA. In the U.S., they often formed coalitions with and intermarried with Native Americans as together they fought the American colonists as far north as Virginia.
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