Eric Williams British Slavery in the Era of Abolition
Eric Williams and abolition: the birth of a new orthodoxy Howard Temperley-- 11.
The Debate over Eric Williams ..
British Capitalism and Caribbean Slavery: The Legacy of Eric Williams ed by Barbara Solow and Stanley Engerman (Cambridge University Press; New Ed edition, 2004)
This opinion was controverted in 1944 by the West Indian historian, Eric Williams, who argued that the end of the slave trade was a result of economic transitions totally unconnected to any morality. Williams' thesis was soon brought into question as well, however. Williams based his argument upon the idea that the West Indian colonies were in decline at the early point of 19th century and were losing their political and economic importance to Britain. This decline turned the slave system into an economic burden that the British were only too willing to do away with.
of slavery call the 'Williams thesis', named for Eric Williams ..
While scholars agree that the plantation system was moribund by the late 19th century, there is general disagreement on the timing of its decline. and noted that the system was overheating from as early as the American War of Independence in 1776. Williams further argued that Britain abolished the slave trade in 1807 because the British West Indian colonies, with the use of enslaved labor, were inefficient and thus declined in profitability and importance to Britain. This interpretation of colonial inefficiency and decline has been the subject of criticism by many, most notably in , which argues that the colonies were highly efficient and productive enterprises even up to the time of abolition. The author posits that when Britain abolished the trade in 1807, it did so when the plantation system was operating at its zenith and sugar made up a large and increasing share of Britain’s overseas imports. Therefore, the decline of the British West Indian plantation system started after the Napoleonic Wars, and at a time when Britain was committed to the emancipation of slavery. Interest in the decline thesis has not dwindled and as such there have been important works that provide important surveys of the nuances in the historiography. examines the debate surrounding specific themes in William’s (), while brought a fresh perspective to the debate, by showing that the decline thesis was prominent in 19th-century British literature. contribute to the debate surrounding abolition with an important collection that examined the life and work of Williams. reflects on two important themes of the Williams thesis. provide coverage of some of the main themes on slavery and abolition.
Important work that aims to show that leading British historians such as W. H. Lecky had preceded Williams in rejecting the traditional interpretation about British antislavery and abolition, focusing instead on a narrative of decline.
West Indian Economic Decline - Atlantic History - …
In this classic analysis and refutation of Eric Williams's 1944 thesis, Seymour Drescher argues that Britain's abolition of the slave trade in 1807 resulted not from the diminishing value of slavery for Great Britain but instead from the British public's mobilization against the slave trade,...
They include essays on British, French, Dutch and Brazilian abolition, as well as essays on the historiography of slavery and abolition since the publication of Eric Williams's "Capitalism and Slavery" more than 50 years ago.
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decline thesis eric williams
Decadence, Rome and Romania, the Emperors Who Weren’t …
the resignation of Dr Williams (and its withdrawal), the decline of the dominant People’s ..
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Homage to Catalonia - Wikipedia
In his magnum opus, Williams placed the Caribbean at the center of the British Atlantic system. He achieved this by showing that the decline of the West Indian colonies figured greatly in Britain’s decision to abolish the slave trade in 1807 and slavery in 1833.
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Brings together a selection of papers presented by some of the leading practitioners in the field at a conference in Italy in 1984 commemorating Eric Williams. The essays explore in varying ways the life and work of Williams, with particular emphasis on the four main themes in Capitalism and Slavery ().
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Solow, Barbara L., and Stanley L. Engerman, eds. British Capitalism and Caribbean Slavery: The Legacy of Eric Williams. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987.
Untitled Document - Christian Scholar's Review
A central feature of British West Indian economic history is the precipitous decline of the plantation system. At its peak, profitable plantation colonies such as Jamaica produced and shipped unprecedented amounts of sugar, rum, and coffee to Britain and the mainland colonies in North America. With the success of antislavery action in ending the slave trade and slavery, the forecast for the continued success and record achievements for the plantation system was not positive. Further, with the abolition of the slave trade in 1807, the plantation system could no longer rely on a steady supply of enslaved labor from Africa resulting in a significantly reduced labor force that became a common feature during this important transition to freedom. To compound matters further, the relative successes gained during the Haitian Revolution and the Napoleonic conflict dissipated because the high prices sustained during this period of expansion were replaced by a steep fall in prices: this pattern continued well into the 20th century. The final and perhaps most devastating blow during this transitional period was the emergence of alternative sources for sugar coming mainly from Brazil and Cuba, the growth of beet in Continental Europe, and the loss of protection West Indian sugar enjoyed for many centuries. The intersection of these factors resulted in the dramatic economic decline of a region that was once at the center of the Atlantic trading system. What was evident is that once profitable estates laid in ruins, and colonies that were at the forefront of Atlantic commerce were now producing less than half their highest levels.
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. In 1975 the average American entertained friends at home 15 times per year; the equivalent figure (1998) is now barely half that. Virtually all leisure activities that involve doing something with someone else, from playing volleyball to playing chamber music, are declining.
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