Slavery and Revolution


The Fall of the Planter Class

By Christer Petley |

This is the introduction to a special issue of the journal Atlantic Studies, about the fall of the planters. It argues that the difficulties faced by the planter class in the British West Indies from the 1780s were an early episode in a wider drama of decline for New World plantation economies. The American historian Lowell Ragatz published the first detailed historical account of their fall. His work helped to inform the influential arguments of Eric Williams, which were later challenged by Seymour Drescher. Recent research has begun to offer fresh perspectives on the debate about the decline of the planters. This article discusses that work and maps out new directions in this field. Click here

Full text of accepted manuscript: Petley – Fall of the Planter Class