The American Crucible: Slavery, Emancipation and Human Rights

A landmark history of the rise and abolition of slavery in the New World.

The acclaimed historian of slavery furnishes a panoramic view of servitude and emancipation in the Americas, from the conquest of the sixteenth century, through the plantation revolution of the seventeenth, to the “century of abolition” that stretched from 1780 to 1888. He supplies an engaged and thorough account of the rise and fall of the regimes of unfreedom which blighted the New World thanks to the consuming appetites of the Old.

By the late eighteenth century the Atlantic industrial and trade boom had sown far and wide the seeds of subversion. He pinpoints the emergence of the anti-slavery idea and argues for the decisive importance of certain watershed events, defined by such key figures as Thomas Paine, Toussaint L’Ouverture, Louis Pierrot, Thomas Clarkson, Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln and Antonio Bento. The American Crucible offers a novel interpretation of slavery and emancipation in the Americas, and of the notable contribution they made both to the “Rise of the West” and to discourse of human rights.

Praise for The Making of New World Slavery

“A magnificent work of contemporary scholarship” — Eric Foner, The Nation

“Sombre, dark and masterly.” — Linda Colley, Independent on Sunday

“Fascinating … Blackburn has brought together diverse strands of historical research and woven them into a compelling story.” — Los Angeles Times

“An exhaustive, powerfully written and compelling book.” — Anthony Pagden, Times Literary Supplement

Praise for The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery

“The first historian since Eric Williams to present a comprehensive interpretation.” — New York Review of Books

Robin Blackburn teaches at the University of Essex in the UK and at the New School in New York. He is the author of many books, including Age Shock: How Finance Is Failing Us, Banking on Death, The Making of New World Slavery and The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery.