Revolution, War, Empire: Gendering the Transatlantic Slave Trade, 1776-1830

TitleRevolution, War, Empire: Gendering the Transatlantic Slave Trade, 1776-1830
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsEltis, David
EditorHagemann, Karen, Gisela Mettele, and Jane Rendall
Book TitleGender, War and Politics: Transatlantic Perspectives, 1775-1830
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
CityBasingstoke, UK

The long half century between the American Revolution and the overthrow of the Restoration monarchy in France in 1830 saw the peak of the transatlantic slave trade (as well as the onset of its abolition), the emergence of the first independent nations of the Americas, a dramatic shift in the distribution and degree of specialization in plantation production in the Americas, and 30 years of maritime conflict in the North Atlantic. The same period saw the largely unrecognized feminization of the slave-labour forces of the major European powers. The connections between all these phenomena and the ways in which contemporary military and political events shaped the development of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade have yet to be fully examined. Many historians have nevertheless accorded revolution a central role in determining the great shifts in the Atlantic slave systems. This chapter argued, by contrast, that both abolition and changes in constructions of gender evolved gradually in the centuries preceding the Age of Revolution, and that political and military conflict tended to slow down rather than accelerate that evolution. [Springer Link]

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