Slavery and American Economic Development
"Slavery and American Economic Development is a small book with a big interpretative punch. It is one of those rare books about a familiar subject that manages to seem fresh and new."--Charles B. Dew, Journal of Interdisciplinary History "A stunning reinterpretation of southern economic history and what is perhaps the most important book in the field since Time on the Cross. . . . I frequently found myself forced to rethink long-held positions."--Russell R. Menard, Civil War History Through an analysis of slavery as an economic institution, Gavin Wright presents an innovative look at the economic divergence between North and South in the antebellum era. He draws a distinction between slavery as a form of work organization--the aspect that has dominated historical debates--and slavery as a set of property rights. Slave-based commerce remained central to the eighteenth-century rise of the Atlantic economy, not because slave plantations were superior as a method of organizing production, but because slaves could be put to work on sugar plantations that could not have attracted free labor on economically viable terms.Gavin Wright is William Robertson Coe Professor in American Economic History at Stanford University and the author of The Political Economy of the Cotton South and Old South, New South: Revolutions in the Southern Economy Since the Civil War, winner of the Frank L. and Harriet C. Owsley Award of the Southern Historical Association. He served as president of the Economic History Association and the Agricultural History Society.
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abolition African slave trade American Revolution Anglo-America antebellum antislavery British Capitalism and Slavery Carolina census Cobb-Douglas coefﬁcient coeﬂCIcient conﬁrm Consent or Contract David deﬁned difﬁcult diﬂrerence Drescher economic development economic history Eﬂiciency eighteenth century Eltis evidence exports farmland female slave ﬁeld ﬁg ﬁgures ﬁnancial ﬁnd ﬁrmly ﬁrst Fogel and Engerman free labor Free males frontier gang labor gang system geographic harvest Iames improved acreage indentured servitude Indian Slavery Industrial inﬂuence institutional labor force labor system land values Menard migration nomic northern Northwest Ordinance ofthe output percent plantations planters political population proﬁt proﬁtability property rights reﬂected regional relative rights in slaves rise share of cotton signiﬁcant Slave Agriculture Slave females slave labor Slave males slave plantations slave prices slave property slave-based slaveholding slaveowners South Carolina Southeast southern Southwest speciﬁc Staple Crops sugar tasks tion tobacco Total factor productivity University Press value of slave Virginia wealth wheat