Lawrance dissents from the received wisdom that the nineteenth-century was an age of abolition. The ending of slavery in the Americas increased slavery in Africa. He prefers to see the beginning of the century as a crossing of a threshold into an age of child enslavement. In looking at data in the monumental Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, he noticed, as others have, that during the first half of the nineteenth century, slave traders freighted increasing proportions of enslaved African children, ages fourteen and under, to places like Bahia and Cuba, often in violation of anti-slave-trade treaties. His moral outrage at the current existence of global networks engaged in the buying and selling of children helped propel him for more than a decade on an interdisciplinary quest to bring to light the shadowy lives of six children involved in the Amistad affair, one of the most famous shipboard slave rebellions...
Amistad’s Orphans: An Atlantic Story of Children, Slavery, and Smuggling. By Benjamin N. Lawrance (New Haven, Yale University Press, 2014) 358 pp. $85.00
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Robert L. Paquette; Amistad’s Orphans: An Atlantic Story of Children, Slavery, and Smuggling. By Benjamin N. Lawrance (New Haven, Yale University Press, 2014) 358 pp. $85.00. The Journal of Interdisciplinary History 2015; 46 (3): 461–462. doi: https://doi.org/10.1162/JINH_r_00887
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