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White servitude and the growth of black slavery in colonial America

Galenson, David W. (1981) White servitude and the growth of black slavery in colonial America. Journal of Economic History, 41 (1). pp. 39-47. ISSN 0022-0507.

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The role of white servitude evolved in a similar way during the American colonial period in those West Indian and southern mainland colonies where slavery became quantitatively important. The change from primary reliance on bound white labor to the use of slaves occurred in two steps, with an initial transition from servants to slaves in unskilled field work, followed some time later by widespread training of blacks and substitution of slaves for servants in skilled occupations. The timing of the two steps can be explained as a function of the changing relative costs of indentured and slave labor in the markets for unskilled and skilled labor.

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Additional Information:© 1981 The Economic History Association. The argument and evidence summarized in this discussion have been presented more fully in David Walter Galenson, "The Indenture System and the Colonial Labor Market: An Economic History of White Servitude in Colonial British America" (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Haward University, 1979), a revised version of which will appear as White Servitude in Colonial America: An Economic Analysis (forthcoming). I am grateful to Stanley Engerman, Morgan Kousser, and Russell Menard for comments on an earlier draft of this paper. Formerly SSWP 318.
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Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:20 Nov 2017 22:13
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 19:05

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