Pathways from Slavery: British and Colonial Mobilizations in Global Perspective, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Pathways from Slavery

British and Colonial Mobilizations in Global Perspective, 1st Edition

By Seymour Drescher


312 pages

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Hardback: 9781138634640
pub: 2017-12-19
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Seymour Drescher’s regular, deeply-thought and carefully nuanced arguments have periodically reshaped how we think of the subject of the history of slavery itself. He has discussed the impact of economic and cultural factors on human behaviour and has shown that historical evidence does not lead to easy answers. He has changed the way in which we now look at abolitionism and has destroyed the linear explanation of economic decline. This books gathers together some of Drescher’s key essays in the field.


"Seymour Drescher challenges some of the most pre-eminent historical interpretations of slavery and antislavery of recent decades. A baker’s dozen of feisty, thought-provoking, and erudite essays on slavery and antislavery throughout the long British empire, often refracted though a comparative lens. With vast knowledge, lucid prose, and trenchant analysis, Drescher engages readers to think in new ways about the uses of slavery and antislavery to empire and the emergence of the modern political culture of human rights."

Sue Peabody, Washington State University, U.S.A.

"Over the past four decades Seymour Drescher has been the leading scholar influencing the understanding of the process of the abolition of slavery. This major collection contains thirteen of his most significant essays, including his influential path-breaking works on British and French abolition, and here expanding his scope to include the process of abolition elsewhere in Europe, the Middle East, and India. With the depth of his scholarship, his extensive research in primary and secondary sources, and its new interpretations this is an indispensable book, not only for understanding the nature of slavery and abolition, but other aspects of the eighteenth and nineteenth century world."

Stanley L. Engerman, Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Rochester, U.S.A.

Table of Contents

1. White Atlantic? The choice for African Slave Labor in the Plantation Americas

2. The Shocking Birth of British Abolitionism

3. Whose Abolition? Popular Pressure and the Ending of the British Slave Trade

4. Cart Whip and Billy Roller: Antislavery and Reform Symbolism in Industrializing Britain

5. Women’s Mobilization in the Era of Slave Emancipation: Some Anglo-French Comparisons

6. Civilizing Insurgency: Two Variants of Slave Revolts

7. Liberty, Equality Humanity: Antislavery and Civil Society in Britain and France

8. Emperors of the World: British Abolitionism and Imperialism

9. History’s Engines: British Mobilization in the Age of Revolution

10. Civil Society and Paths to Abolition

11. Abolition and Civil Society: East and West

12. Britain, India and Bondage, Part One: Birth of the "Slow Death of Slavery"

13. Britain, India and Bondage, Part Two: Indentured Emigration

About the Author

Seymour Drescher is Professor of History at the University of Pittsburgh, USA.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Africa / General
HISTORY / United States / Colonial Period (1600-1775)
HISTORY / United States / Civil War Period (1850-1877)
HISTORY / Caribbean & West Indies / General