Debate on the decline thesis

Origins of the Decline Thesis[ edit ] Sultan Suleiman Iwhose reign was seen as constituting a golden age. In the Ottoman Empire[ edit ] The idea of decline first emerged among the Ottomans themselves.

Debate on the decline thesis

However much debate has ensued as to the defining factor which caused its eventual accomplishment. There are two controversial theories which both attempt to shed light on this all important topic. Firstly there is the Eric Williams Decline Thesis found in his work Capitalism and Slavery in which he attributes the rise and decline of slavery not as an act of racial and religious control but suggests that slavery was mainly driven by economics.

He continued that any racial sentiments occurred as a result of this economical system and the main reason why slavery was abolished was because it was no longer profitable to the British economy. He posits that slavery was still very profitable at the time of its abolition and that Britain suffered many losses due to their humane actions.

This is due to the reality that at the time of abolition, sugar was quickly becoming a forgotten product in the British Empire, as a result of the industrial revolution.

It is only logical to assume that the metropole would seek alternative means of acquiring wealth. This then led to the subsequent collapse of the slave system as the collapse of the sugar industry, the formation of new plantations outside of the West Indies and various actions taken by the House of Lords and Capitalists Debate on the decline thesis Britain all would have impacted the economic viability of the British West Indian Slave Institution leading to its eventual collapse.

British Slavery in the Era of Abolition. University of North Carolina Press, Firstly one must look at the affairs which existed. It is important to note that during the period preceding emancipation there was a great deal of social unrest there.

The Haitian revolution essentially placed hope within the minds of the enslaved for this subsequently facilitated a barrage of rebellions namely an uprising in Barbados in This rebellion signified a change in the general attitude of the enslaved towards planters as they were now willing to openly oppose the mistreatment meted out to them by the whites since Haiti proved that the whited were not invincible and could be beaten.

There was also action taking place within the European continent itself as humanitarians strengthened their efforts in the plight of emancipating the slaves. Groups such as the Clapham Sect were fundamental in raising awareness of the harsh and inhumane treatment which the enslaved were subjected to.

Abolitionists such as Thomas Clarkson worked tirelessly in creating pamphlets and essays which highlighted the inhumane treatment and conditions which the slaves endured.

Meanwhile, the British West Indies was in bad shape as sugar production was receiving stiff competition from plantations in Brazil and Cuba and there was also the dawn of beet sugar which supplied the European market an alternative to British West Indian cane sugar at cheaper prices.

The industrial revolution ensured that there were cheaper and more efficient means by which the English monarchy could acquire wealth. Eric Williams certainly gives the most logical explanation of the defining factor which affected the end of slavery and there is a magnitude of research and work related to the topic to support this done by various historians including Williams, Ragatz and Selwyn Carrington.

Debate on the decline thesis

They all indicate that the economic frailty of the British West Indian plantation system was the main cause affecting the decline of the slave system. Throughout their research they have arrived at defining components which have influenced my decision in supporting the Decline Thesis of Dr. Eric Williams as they appear more logical when compared to the works of Seymour Drescher, Stanley Engerman, David Eltis and Thomas Haskell where its suggest slavery collapsed due to the actions of the humanitarian movement and was still economically viable at the time of abolition.

Firstly it is important to note that sugar and slavery are continuously linked in terms of West Indian history. Therefore a decline in the demand of sugar would have led to a decline in the demand for slaves. This was evident during the late 18th and early 19th century as advancements in British industry and the expansion of sugar plantations in Brazil and Cuba meant that sugar was slowly declining and becoming a burden to the British economy.

This meant that young and old entrepreneurs were seeking alternative means of acquiring wealth which as the trade in slaves was gradually becoming irrelevant as well, since a decline in sugar meant a decline in the profitability of the slave trade.

When British Capitalism depended on the West Indies, they ignored slavery or defended it.

Introduction

When British capitalism found the West Indian monopoly a nuisance, they destroyed West Indian slavery as a 7 first step in the destruction of the West Indian monopoly.

When West Indian Sugar was profitable the capitalists in Britain championed its cause however as it slowly became a burden to the British economy the Capitalists were quick to champion the cause of abolitionists as economically it did not suite the interests of Great Britain.

As he posited that using the very statistics Eric Williams employed in his Decline Thesis there was a noted decline in the profitability of sugar and slavery indicated in the period to the rate of British Trade was equivalent to the rate of British Trade in which suggested that West Indian Sugar production was on its way up.

Oxford University Press, pg. However these were usually attributed to external factors such as the Haitian Revolution and had little to do with the efficiency of the British West Indian Plantation Society.

When America liberated itself from British imperialism in it economically crippled the West Indies sugar plantation as America served as the means by which the Caribbean colonies acquired goods essential for the maintenance of the plantation.

As noted historian Dr. This resulted in devastation in the West Indies not only because they were unable to receive the essentials of survival which they required but they no longer were able to engage in trade with the American Continent. This meant that the colonies were not only over producing but had lost a crucial export partner hence crippling the West Indian Plantation Society Drescher strongly disagrees with this point as he posits that whilst the loss of America was significant in terms of the provision of supplies to the British colonies, he noted there was no real change in the quantity traded by the British islands when comparing the years to Appearing in , Capitalism and Slavery was a comprehensive attempt to explain the rise and fall of British colonial slavery in relation to the evolution of European world-capitalism.

1 In dealing with the final stages of slavery, Eric Williams developed a two-pronged argument linking its demise. The Decline Thesis of British Slavery since Econocide Seymour Drescher* PART ONE: THE DECLINE THESIS AND ITS OPPONENTS Appearing in , Capitalism and Slavery was a comprehensive attempt to.

Aug 10,  · The evidence is fairly strong for a decline in war thesis We should not focus exclusively on as the only potential break point. On point 2 I know of two separate research teams who have papers specifically on the change-point issue.

debate dispute whether the health of the West Indian sugar industry had any impact on the decision to abolish the slave trade in Advocates of what is commonly referred to as the "Decline Thesis" believe that slavery's faltering profitability mandated abolition, whereas the This trade policy.

the heart of Williams' argument that. The Decline Thesis of British Slavery since Econocide Seymour Drescher* PART ONE: THE DECLINE THESIS AND ITS OPPONENTS Appearing in , Capitalism and Slavery was a . 1 Thesis Statement The decline thesis of Dr.

Eric Williams entails a much more logical cause of the decline of British West Indian slave system in the ’s than the Econocide theory of .

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