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Terms of labor : slavery, serfdom, and free labor /
edited by Stanley L. Engerman.
imprint
Stanford, Calif. : Stanford University Press, 1999.
description
vi, 350 p.
ISBN
0804735212 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
added author
imprint
Stanford, Calif. : Stanford University Press, 1999.
isbn
0804735212 (cloth : alk. paper)
general note
Based on a continuing series of conferences held at the Center for the History of Freedom at Washington University in St. Louis.
catalogue key
2592704
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [275]-338) and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
Throughout recorded history, labor to produce goods and services has been a central concern of society, and questions surrounding the terms of labor--the arrangements under which labor is made to produce and to divide its product with others--are of great significance for understanding the past and the emergence of the modern world. For long periods, much of the world's labor could be considered under the coercive control of systems of slavery or of serfdom, with relatively few workers laboring under terms of freedom, however defined. Slavery and serfdom were systems that controlled not only the terms of labor, but also the more general issues of political freedom. The nine chapters in this volume deal with the general issues of the causes and consequences of the rise of so-called free labor in Europe, the United States, and the Caribbean over the past four to five centuries, and point to the many complications and paradoxical aspects of this change. The topics covered are European beliefs that rejected the enslavement of other Europeans but permitted the slavery of Africans (David Eltis), British abolitionism and the impact of emancipation in the British West Indies (Seymour Drescher), the consequences of the end of Russian serfdom (Peter Kolchin), the definition and nature of free labor as seen by nineteenth-century American workers (Leon Fink), the effects of changing legal and economic concepts of free labor (Robert J. Steinfeld), the antebellum American use of the metaphor of slavery (David Roediger), female dependent labor in the aftermath of American emancipation (Amy Dru Stanley), the contrast between individual and group actions in attempting to benefit individual laborers (David Brody), and the link between arguments concerning free labor and the actual outcomes for laborers in nineteenth-century America (Clayne Pope).
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1999-11:
Terms of Labor examines the causes and consequences of the rise of free labor in Europe and the Americas. Although abandonment of slavery and serfdom within Europe dramatically changed the rights of laborers, significant control over labor remained. In addition to indentured servitude and continued African slavery within the New World, mechanisms such as penal sanctions often imprisoned "free" laborers into voluntary yet unfortunate contractual agreements throughout Europe and America. Provocative perspectives on the extent to which contractual agreements, government policy, and market forces limited economic autonomy precede thorough and useful treatments of 19th- and 20th-century American labor, unionism, and social mobility. Essays by Engerman (best known for his Time on the Cross: The Economics of American Negro Slavery, 1974) and scholars such as Seymour Drescher (Univ. of Pittsburgh) and Amy Dru Stanley (Univ. of Chicago) illustrate that economic gains frequently preceded social and political empowerment. Their excellent work also proves that free labor is a constantly evolving, complicated notion involving different tastes and goals of different groups of workers. Recommended for upper-division undergraduates and above. R. J. Palin; St. Thomas University
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This item was reviewed in:
Choice, November 1999
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
Throughout history the labour to produce goods and services has been a central concern to society and for long periods was under the systems of slavery or serfdom. This study considers the causes and consequences of the rise of free labour.
Main Description
Throughout recorded history, labor to produce goods and services has been a central concern of society, and questions surrounding the terms of laborthe arrangements under which labor is made to produce and to divide its product with othersare of great significance for understanding the past and the emergence of the modern world. For long periods, much of the world's labor could be considered under the coercive control of systems of slavery or of serfdom, with relatively few workers laboring under terms of freedom, however defined. Slavery and serfdom were systems that controlled not only the terms of labor, but also the more general issues of political freedom. The nine chapters in this volume deal with the general issues of the causes and consequences of the rise of so-called free labor in Europe, the United States, and the Caribbean over the past four to five centuries, and point to the many complications and paradoxical aspects of this change. The topics covered are European beliefs that rejected the enslavement of other Europeans but permitted the slavery of Africans (David Eltis), British abolitionism and the impact of emancipation in the British West Indies (Seymour Drescher), the consequences of the end of Russian serfdom (Peter Kolchin), the definition and nature of free labor as seen by nineteenth-century American workers (Leon Fink), the effects of changing legal and economic concepts of free labor (Robert J. Steinfeld), the antebellum American use of the metaphor of slavery (David Roediger), female dependent labor in the aftermath of American emancipation (Amy Dru Stanley), the contrast between individual and group actions in attempting to benefit individual laborers (David Brody), and the link between arguments concerning free labor and the actual outcomes for laborers in nineteenth-century America (Clayne Pope).
Table of Contents
Contributors
Introductionp. 1
Slavery and Freedom in the Early Modern Worldp. 25
Free Labor vs. Slave Labor: The British and Caribbean Casesp. 50
After Serfdom: Russian Emancipation in Comparative Perspectivep. 87
From Autonomy to Abundance: Changing Beliefs About the Free Labor System in Nineteenth-Century Americap. 116
Changing Legal Conceptions of Free Laborp. 137
Race, Labor, and Gender in the Languages of Antebellum Social Protestp. 168
"We Did Not Separate Man and Wife, But All Had to Work": Freedom and Dependence in the Aftermath of Slave Emancipationp. 188
Free Labor, Law, and American Trade Unionismp. 213
Social Mobility, Free Labor, and the American Dreamp. 245
Notesp. 275
Indexp. 339
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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