Humanitarian Intervention and Changing Labor Relations

The Long-term Consequences of the Abolition of the Slave Trade


Volume Editor:
In 1807 the British “Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade” received the Royal Assent. The Act represented the first significant attempt by a Great Power to exert global influence over the development of human rights, and, relatedly, labor conditions worldwide. The essays presented in this book by an international panel of historians and social scientists aim to shed light specifically on the changes which the legal abolition of the slave trade brought about – directly and indirectly – in the labor relations of different regions and continents. The sixteen essays discuss the connected developments in the Americas (Brazil, the Caribbean and the United States), Africa (Cameroon, the Cape Colony, the Belgian Congo) and the Netherlands Indies (Java).

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Marcel van der Linden (1952) is Research Director of the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam. He has published extensively on labor and working class history including Workers of the World. Essays toward a Global Labor History (Brill, 2008).
Notes on contributors
Maps, figures and tables

Introduction, Marcel van der Linden
Appendix: An Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade (1807)

Commemorating abolition, 1807-2007, James Walvin
New challenges for historians: the veil of post-slavery society in Surinam, 1808-2008, Angelie Sens

Was abolition of the American and British slave trade significant in the broader Atlantic context?, David Eltis
The limited impact of 1808 in Brazil, Dick Geary
Revolution and emancipation: the role of abolitionism in ending slavery in the Americas, Robin Blackburn
Abolition from below: the 1808 revolt in the Cape Colony, Nicole Ulrich
Slavery after the abolition of the slave trade: the United States and the British West Indies, Stanley Engerman
The Abolition Act and the development of abolitionist movements in 19th century Europe, Andreas Gestrich

“As always, the trouble is with the French.” Britain, France, the Netherlands and the colonial labor market in the 19th century, Pieter C. Emmer
What came after Emancipation? A micro-historical comparison between Cuba and the United States, Michael Zeuske and Norbert Finzsch
Land policies in Jamaica, 1830-1940, Claus Füllberg-Stollberg
Abolitionist rhetorics, colonial conquest, and the slow death of slavery in Germany’s African empire, Andreas Eckert
More continuity than change? New forms of unfree labor in the Belgian Congo, 1908-1930, Julia Seibert
The discourse on free labor and the forced Cultivation System: the contradictory consequences of the abolition of the slave trade in colonial Java, 1811-1870, Ulbe Bosma
Indenture, Grand Narratives and fragmented histories: the Dutch East Indies, c. 1880-1940, Roger Knight

The long-term trajectory of anti-slavery in international politics: from the expansion of the European international system to unequal international development, Susan Zimmermann

Those interested in social history, the history of slavery, the history of colonialism, the history of international migration, and the history of international relations.
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