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Inequality and Stratification

David Watkins

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The Problem Of State Intervention In Post-Abolition Slavery: A Critique Of Consensus, Anthony Talbott, David Watkins Apr 2016

The Problem Of State Intervention In Post-Abolition Slavery: A Critique Of Consensus, Anthony Talbott, David Watkins

David Watkins

Slavery is now illegal by all states and under international law. Contrary to the hopes of abolitionists, this state of affairs has transformed rather than eradicated slavery as an institution. Furthermore, responses by states to post-abolition forms of slavery have often been less than ideal. This paper begins by comparing two state responses to slavery in the early 20th century: the federal peonage trials in Montgomery, Alabama from 1903-1905, and the federal response to an alleged epidemic of “white slavery” from 1909-1910, culminating in the passage of the White Slave-Traffic Act. Taken together, these responses engender pessimism about the state ...