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Plantation-Slavery And Economic Development In The Antebellum-Southern United States

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Chapter Summary

Scholarly discussion of plantation-slavery and economic development has produced two broad interpretive models. It is the central thesis of this article that attempts to explain the dynamics of plantation-slavery in the New World without reference to class-structure are fundamentally flawed. First, this article interrogates the arguments of the leading proponents of both explanatory models in light of the comparative development of slavery in both the ancient and modern worlds. Then, it develops a theoretical model of slavery's specific social-property relations, and demonstrates the author's model's analytical potential through an analysis of the development of plantation-slavery in the southern US. The 'planter-capitalism' model recognises that the slaveholding planters of the Americas faced 'market imperatives'. The division and simplification of tasks, the co-ordination of the work of the gang and other 'capitalist' features of plantation-slavery's work-regime led one proponent of the 'planter-capitalism' model to argue that New-World planters' management-practice.

Keywords: &t;civilisation" model; 'planter-capitalism' model; antebellum-south; antebellum-southern United States; economic development; New-World planters; plantation-slavery



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