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The Amelioration of the Slaves in the British Empire, 1790-1833

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Robert Luster

The last stages of slavery in the British Empire revolved around the Amelioration Policy, a program aimed at improving the quality of life for the individual slave and transforming the institution into a more benign social entity. Rather than preserving the institution of slavery, the Amelioration Policy accelerated its decline. The implication of the legal and economic aspects of the policy led to demographic changes in Mauritius and was a major motivating factor in the Great Trek of 1834. From this study, historians will be able to learn about the problems of translating eighteenth-century humanitarian concepts into practical policy. This book illustrates a long neglected aspect of European imperial activity: the diffusion of Western culture among Third World peoples. The Amelioration Policy established the methods by which Westernization took place in the European colonial empires.