Synopses & Reviews
The American Crucible
furnishes a vivid and authoritative history of the rise and fall of slavery in the Americas. For over three centuries enslavement promoted the rise of capitalism in the Atlantic world. The New World became the crucible for a succession of fateful experiments in colonization, silver mining, plantation agriculture, racial enslavement, colonial rebellion, slave witness and slave resistance. Slave produce raised up empires, fostered new cultures of consumption and financed the breakthrough to an industrial order.
Not until the stirrings of a revolutionary age in the 1780s was there the first public challenge to the ‘peculiar institution’. An anti-slavery alliance then set the scene for great acts of emancipation in Haiti in 1804, Britain in 1833–8, the United States in the 1860s, and Cuba and Brazil in the 1880s. In The American Crucible, Robin Blackburn argues that the anti-slavery movement forged many of the ideals we live by today.
‘The best treatment of slavery in the western hemisphere I know of. I think it should
establish itself as a permanent pillar of the literature.’ Eric Hobsbawm
"A marvelous book—insightful and stimulating." Stanley Engerman, University of Rochester
"This is a richly scholarly book … an important contribution to our understanding of the shaping of the modern world." James Walvin
"Poses a challenge for the political future as well as a bold reappraisal of the historical past." BBC History Magazine
"The finest one-volume history of the rise and fall of modern slavery." Stephen Howe Independent
"Magisterial history of transatlantic slavery." Eric Foner The Nation
How slavery shaped the market economy and abolitionists gave us our ideals
For over three centuries, slavery in the Americas fuelled the growth of capitalism. But the stirrings of a revolutionary age in the late eighteenth century challenged this “peculiar institution” and set the scene for great acts of emancipation in Haiti in 1804, in the United States in the 1860s and Brazil in the 1880s. Blackburn argues that the anti-slavery movement helped forge the political and social ideals we live by today.
About the Author
Robin Blackburn is a Leverhulme research fellow based at the University of Essex in the UK. He taught as a visitor at the New School for Social Research in New York between 2001 and 2010. He is the author of many books, including The Making of New World Slavery and The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery.