272 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 4 halftones, 4 figs., 4 tables, appends., notes, index
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-2985-8
Published: August 2016
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-1182-2
Published: December 2013
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Published by the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and the University of North Carolina Press
Awards & distinctions
2009 Jamestown Prize, Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture
Shortlisted for the 2013 Whitfield Prize, Royal Historical Society
Unlike previous histories of the RAC, Pettigrew's study pursues the Company's story beyond the trade’s complete deregulation in 1712 to its demise in 1752. Opening the trade led to its escalation, which provided a reliable supply of enslaved Africans to the mainland American colonies, thus playing a critical part in entrenching African slavery as the colonies' preferred solution to the American problem of labor supply.
About the Author
William A. Pettigrew is lecturer in history at the University of Kent.
For more information about William A. Pettigrew, visit the Author Page.
“Accessible and very interesting. . . . An admirable account of how the [Royal African Company] and its rival British slave-trading enterprises shaped, and were shaped by, the politics of the wider society they inhabited.”--Enterprise & Society
“Pettigrew’s work is a much needed examination of the political and economic underpinnings of the early years of the British slave trade.”--History Today
“Well researched and coherently organized...convincing, compelling, and important...Freedom's Debt does for English history something like what Edmund S. Morgan did for American history in American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia”--William and Mary Quarterly
“[A] carefully researched book.”--Journal of American History
“[Freedom's Debt] will be a standard source for specialists for many years to come.”--Journal of Interdisciplinary History
“A deeply researched, persuasive study on the political disputes between the RAC and what the author calls the independent slave traders who opposed the RAC’s monopoly and were victorious by 1712 in deregulating Britain’s slave trade.”--H-Net