This essay offers a critical appraisal of Nicholas Draper's The Price of Emancipation. Draper's book enhances our understanding of the processes by which enslaved people in the British Empire gained juridical freedom during the 1830s, and in its focus on absentee slaveholders living in the metropole it offers a new and important analysis of the character of British slave ownership on the brink of emancipation. Questions raised by Draper's work about the rise and influence of this absentee group, about the diversity of slave ownership in the British Atlantic, and about the emergence of dynamic new plantation economies in British Guiana and Trinidad are discussed in the essay, which concludes with an examination of the imperative for scholars to continue to offer detailed histories of Caribbean slavery and emancipation while simultaneously focusing on British themes.

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