The Slavery Debates, 1952-1990
112 pages / 5.50 x 8.50 inches / no illustrations
Robert William Fogel was in the vanguard of those revisionists who in the mid–twentieth century challenged the prevailing historical canon on American slavery. The "slavery debates" encompassed a reexamination of almost every aspect of American slavery and became one front in a battle waged over the place of cliometrics—the use of quantitative data and statistical methods to analyze historical problems. Fogel and Stanley Engerman's 1974 groundbreaking book, Time on the Cross, applied cliometrics to the study of slavery, revealing it to be a profitable and efficient labor system, and their book remains a fiercely debated work. Now, in an enlightening memoir, Fogel chronicles the controversies surrounding American slavery over four decades and the emergence of a new generation of intellectual and political historians who questioned the progressive synthesis. The Slavery Debates is an informative summary of the literature on the economics of American slavery, offering a valuable glimpse into one of the most interesting chapters of the historical profession.
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