Date of Award


Document Type

Senior Scholars Paper (Open Access)


Colby College. Sociology Dept.


Rob Weisbrot

Second Advisor

Harold B. Raymond

Third Advisor

William B. Miller


In order to compare slave productivity, this study analyzes institutional and demographic features underlying slavery in Jamaica and Louisiana in the early Nineteenth Century. Louisiana planters recieved slaves from the interregional redistribution of slaves in the United States. Migration estimates are calculated for the population moving out of Virginia and the population moving into Louisiana. These estimates and demographic data on the populations that do not migrate are used to refute the slave breeding hypothesis. Jamaican population growth in the absence of slave imports is examined with an effort to explain why Jamaica's population was incapable of reproducing itself. This phenomenon is explained by prime age population erosion where the African population aged and the Creole population was too young to regenerate the population. The uses of labor and capital in the plantation operations are analyzed and a model, based on slave labor constraint, is advanced to explain these uses. This model is then used to explain why Jamaican planters used the steam engine and the hoe while Louisiana planters used the steam engine and the plow in the manufacturing of sugar. The features underlying the slavery are reexamined to formulate the hypothesis that slaves in Louisiana were more productive than slaves in Jamaica. This hypothesis is then emperically verified.


Sugar trade Jamaica, Sugar trade, Louisiana

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