Fundamental, long-term genetic trade-offs constrain life-history evolution in wild crucifer populations. I studied patterns of genetic constraint in Brassica rapa by estimating genetic correlations among life-history components by quantitative genetic analyses among ten wild populations, and within four populations. Genetic correlations between age and size at first reproduction were always greater than +0.8 within and among all populations studied. Although quantitative genetics might provide insight about genetic constraints if genetic parameters remain approximately constant, little evidence has been available to determine the constancy of genetic correlations. I found strong and consistent estimates of genetic correlations between life-history components, which were very similar within four natural populations. Population differentiation also showed these same trade-offs, resulting from long-term genetic constraint. For some traits, evolutionary changes among populations were incompatible with a model of genetic drift. Historical patterns of natural selection were inferred from population differentiation, suggesting that correlated response to selection has caused some traits to evolve opposite to the direct forces of natural selection. Comparison with Arabidopsis suggests that these life-history trade-offs are caused by genes that regulate patterns of resource allocation to different components of fitness. Ecological and energetic models may correctly predict these trade-offs because there is little additive genetic variation for rates of resource acquisition, but resource allocation is genetically variable.