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British West Indian Slavery, 1750-1834

The Process of Amelioration

By (author) J. R. Ward
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Oxford, United Kingdom
Imprint: Clarendon Press
Published: 25th Aug 1988
Dimensions: w 150mm h 30mm d 250mm
Weight: 579g
ISBN-10: 0198201443
ISBN-13: 9780198201441
Barcode No: 9780198201441
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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'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