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British West Indian Slavery, 1750-1834
The Process of Amelioration
The attempts made by British West Indian planters to improve the treatment of their slaves, partly in response to the rise of the anti-slavery movement, are examined in this new study. The measures taken, Dr Ward argues, had a considerable effect in raising both the standard of living and the productive efficiency of the sugar estates's labour force. Nevertheless, 'amelioration' also suffered serious weaknesses, which ultimately made it ineffective as a means to
defend the institution of slavery.
This is the first account of Caribbean slavery to be based on the detailed analysis of plantation records from several different sugar colonies. Although focused on the British West Indies, its main theme - the potential for reform and economic development in slave-based societies - has a wider significance.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'a well-researched and well-written study of both the short- and long-term changes in sugar planting ... It is difficult in the short space allotted to this review to do justice to the penetrating analysis and fine judgment displayed by the author.'
Richard B. Sheridan, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Slavery & Abolition 'careful, well-documented, and significant study'
Tom Donnelly, Coventry Polytechnic, Business History 'careful, well-documented, and significant study ... in the areas on which it concentrates ... it brings forward very valuable evidence and arguments'
Michael Tadman, University of Liverpool, Business History 'Ward's book takes its place as a necessary reference point in the long-running debate on "capitalism and slavery".'
Times Literary Supplement