The Transition from Plantation Slave Labour to Free Labour in the Americas

Bloomsbury Academic

The publication is Chapter 14 (pp. 211–228) within The Many Faces of Slavery: New Perspectives on Slave Ownership and Experiences in the Americas 

One of the most fundamental changes in the world economy in the nineteenth century was the transition from slave to free labour in the Americas. It was a century-long process, beginning in the late eighteenth century and ending in 1888. It was a process that reallocated and destroyed large amounts of capital, reduced or increased the costs of commercial exports from America to Europe, shifted the centres of plantation agriculture in America and transformed labour relations throughout the Western hemisphere. It also had an impact on governments, destroying several of them in rebellions and civil wars. Slave emancipation itself also became the major impulse for the migration of Asian labourers to the Americas, as well as one of the important factors promoting the transatlantic migration of southern Europeans. It also introduced wage labour in large parts of the Americas and changed the nature of plantation agricultural labour....