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“As Always, The Trouble Is With The French." Britain, France, The Netherlands And The Colonial Labor Market In The 19th Century

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Chapter Summary

For most of the 19th century, France and Britain were rivals in the world beyond Europe. French ideas about the suppression of the international slave trade and the abolition of slave labor were seen as a "litmus test for modernity". During the twenty years between the foundation of the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade and the ending of the slave trade, innumerable arguments for and against the trade had been exchanged. Before the treaty with Great Britain, the French had some experience in recruiting indentured laborers in India. The French government, on the other hand, seemed to have had far fewer scruples, because it was never under pressure from a strong abolitionist lobby, and public opinion simply seemed not interested in the conditions of the colonial labor markets. The case of the Netherlands seems to prove the contrary.

Keywords: Britain; colonial labor market; France; international slave trade; Netherlands



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