The concept of the second slavery radically reinterprets the relation of slavery and capitalism by calling attention to the emergence of extensive new zones of slave commodity production in the US South, Cuba, and Brazil as part of nineteenth-century industrialization and world-economic expansion. This article examines the conceptual framework and methodological procedures that inform this interpretation. It reformulates the concept of the capitalist world-economy by emphasizing the mutual formation and historical interrelation of global–local relations. This open conception of world-economy permits the temporal-spatial specification of the zones of the second slavery. In this way, it is possible both to distinguish the new zones of the second slavery from previous world-economic zones of slave production and to establish the ways in which they are formative of the emerging industrial world division of labor. From this perspective, analysis of sugar production in Jamaica, Guyana, and Cuba discloses spatial-temporal differences between what would otherwise be taken as apparently similar historical-geographical complexes. This comparison demonstrates how world-economic processes produce particular local histories and how such histories structure the world-economy as a whole. This approach locates the crisis of slavery during the nineteenth century in the differentiated response to processes of world accumulation, rather than the incompatibility of slave production with industrialization and open, competitive markets. More generally, it calls attention to the continuity of forms of forced labor in the historical development of the capitalist world-economy and to the ways that processes of capitalist development produce social-economic differentiation and hierarchy on a world scale.