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THE HIDDEN ECONOMY OF SLAVERY: COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL HIRING IN PENNSYLVANIA, NEW JERSEY AND DELAWARE, 1728-1800

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Author(s): Michael V. Kennedy

Journal: Essays in Economic & Business History
ISSN 0896-226X

Volume: 21;
Issue: 1;
Date: 2003;
Original page

ABSTRACT
Industrial and commercial businesses in the Mid-Atlantic region depended on a controllable workforce of slaves during the eighteenth century. A significant percentage of these slaves were hired from private citizens who regularly profited from the exchange. Because of the almost continuous movement of slaves across township, county and colony borders due to hiring-out practices, slaves in tax and census lists were routinely under-reported. The use of business accounts listing hires and labor done by slaves reveals the extent and importance of slave hiring and additional numbers of slaves owned in the region that were otherwise invisible.
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