Underlying this book is a pressing question that all historians and social scientists must face, but one that is rarely explored and never satisfactorily answered. Why do standards of morality change over time? Despite their disclaimers to the contrary, most scholars (and indeed, judicial systems) interpret past human behavior in terms of current conceptions of right and wrong. The trigger for Beauvois’ book is the phrase in the subtitle, “compensation for slavery.” Today, almost everyone hearing it for the first time would assume it to be a synonym for “reparations”—payments to rectify past injustice. Two centuries ago, it was almost universally understood as amends to owners of slaves for the loss of their human property. Even the half-million Haitians who freed themselves partially compensated their former owners; the only significant group of slave owners to receive nothing for their loss fought the bloodiest war in U.S. history to avoid such...
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November 01 2017
Between Blood Gold: The Debates over Compensation for Slavery in the Americas
Between Blood Gold: The Debates over Compensation for Slavery in the Americas. By
Beauvois( ) (
Online Issn: 1530-9169
Print Issn: 0022-1953
© 2017 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Inc.
by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Inc.
The Journal of Interdisciplinary History (2017) 48 (3): 398–399.
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David Eltis; Between Blood Gold: The Debates over Compensation for Slavery in the Americas. The Journal of Interdisciplinary History 2017; 48 (3): 398–399. doi: https://doi.org/10.1162/JINH_r_01168
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