Socio-Economic History

Vol. 80, No. 1

Hideyuki SHIMOTOMAI, Employer attitudes toward the Immigration Act of 1924: an analysis of the NICB’s national immigration conference

This study analyzes the national conference on immigration held by the National Industrial Conference Board (NICB), the leading employers’ association in the United States. The conference was convened ahead of the enactment of the Immigration Act of 1924, which is considered a landmark in the history of U.S. immigration policy because of its establishment of restrictions on immigration. Research by the NICB shows that the essential question was weaknesses of the U.S. immigration administration, especially insufficient collaboration between the Bureau of Immigration of the Department of Labor and the Consular Service of the Department of State. The National Immigration Conference planned to propose some administrative changes to the Federal immigration policy at the time the U.S. Congress was planning to introduce full-scale immigration restrictions. The conference was attended by various employers’ associations, labor organizations, civil society associations, and government officials. The resolution adopted by the NICB was not limited to business interests but involved official influence in congressional hearings. The NICB finally opted to ask for an improvement in immigrant selection, thus establishing the “consular control system” that was eventually embodied in the Immigration Act of 1924.


Takahito MORI, Wartime unemployment relief in the “Social City”: a case study of Hamburg during World War I

In Germany, the outbreak of World War I brought about large-scale unemployment, so that wartime unemployment relief was introduced in many cities as a countermeasure against the problem. Although the Reich government assumed a negative attitude toward the spread of such service at the beginning of the war, it began to offer subsidies for unemployment as part of wartime welfare in 1915. However, the administration of unemployment relief was still in the hands of such urban organizations as municipalities and private charities. The unemployment relief in Hamburg was administered by a private charity, namely the Hamburgische Kriegshilfe, throughout the war. The Hamburgische Kriegshilfe organized the decentralized unemployment relief, following the tradition of “individualization” of relief that private charities had adopted in order to meet the needs of the diverse strata of society. The present paper concludes from the case study of Hamburg that the “Social City” during World War I laid the foundation for the “Social State” of Weimar by building on the system of social relief in the 19th Century and developing a style of unemployment relief adapted to the wartime social conditions.


Takao OSANAI, The Baltic trade of Hull in the second half of the sixteenth and the first half of the seventeenth centuries: a European perspective

This article, based on scrutiny of the Sound Toll Tables (records of tolls imposed by the Danish crown on ships passing through the Sound), demonstrates the importance of Yorkshire and Kingston upon Hull in the Baltic trade of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. In the first part, an analysis of shipping reveals that Hull was the third major English port in terms of the number of ships to and from the Baltic. In the second part, an examination of the trade demonstrates that Hull ships were significant in the export of cloth and the import of flax and iron. These findings suggest that this trade was closely related to industrial activities in the hinterland of Hull, such as the woollen industry. The final section of the paper proposes that the impact of foreign markets on the Yorkshire economy should be reevaluated and the region should be understood, beyond local and national frameworks, as part of the Northern European commercial circle. It also argues that Yorkshire, at least to some extent, formed a distinct economic sphere with Northern Europe, independent of London’s influence.


Hideaki ITO, Birth and death of slaves in the heyday of Jamaican sugar plantations: a case study of six estates belonging to “John Tharp of Good Hope”

A sizable body of literature examines demographic stagnation among Caribbean slaves. Some studies stress the importance of the high mortality rate caused by the exploitative labour regimen and lethal environment. Others have emphasized the role of low fertility among African-born slaves.
This study, which compares six sugar plantations belonging to “John Tharp of Good Hope” at the end of the eighteenth century, focuses on estate management and its influence on patterns of slave births and deaths. Records show differences between the estates in the number of deaths from accidents, dirt-eating and diseases, as well as differences in the ratio of deaths from identified diseases compared with those caused by unidentified causes. These findings suggest that personnel management, food supply and medical services varied from estate to estate. But favourable treatment did not always bring about improvements in birth or death rates; birth records suggest that some—but not all—of the estates tried to avoid births during the season of high humidity or busywork.
The estates which treated slaves favourably were able to control the timing of births. However, industrious management did not always increase birth rates. I argue that the observed pattern of births and deaths in the sugar plantations reflects the quality and type of interactions between the estate management and slave families.