Capitalism and Slavery
Author: Eric Williams
Publisher: Lulu Press, Inc
The present study is an attempt to place in historical perspective the relationship between early capitalism as exemplified by Great Britain, and the Negro slave trade, Negro slavery and the general colonial trade of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It is strictly an economic study of the role of Negro slavery and the slave trade in providing the capital which financed the Industrial Revolution in England and of mature industrial capitalism in destroying the slave system.
Capitalism and Slavery
Author: Eric Williams
Publisher: UNC Press Books
Slavery helped finance the Industrial Revolution in England. Plantation owners, shipbuilders, and merchants connected with the slave trade accumulated vast fortunes that established banks and heavy industry in Europe and expanded the reach of capitalism worldwide. Eric Williams advanced these powerful ideas in Capitalism and Slavery, published in 1944. Years ahead of its time, his profound critique became the foundation for studies of imperialism and economic development. Binding an economic view of history with strong moral argument, Williams's study of the role of slavery in financing the Industrial Revolution refuted traditional ideas of economic and moral progress and firmly established the centrality of the African slave trade in European economic development. He also showed that mature industrial capitalism in turn helped destroy the slave system. Establishing the exploitation of commercial capitalism and its link to racial attitudes, Williams employed a historicist vision that set the tone for future studies. In a new introduction, Colin Palmer assesses the lasting impact of Williams's groundbreaking work and analyzes the heated scholarly debates it generated when it first appeared.
Capitalism & Slavery
Author: Eric Eustace Williams
Publisher: Haworth Press
Capitalism and Slavery
Americans tend to cast slavery as a pre-modern institution—the nation's original sin, perhaps, but isolated in time and divorced from America's later success. But to do so robs the millions who suffered in bondage of their full legacy. As historian Edward Baptist reveals in The Half Has Never Been Told, the expansion of slavery in the first eight decades after American independence drove the evolution and modernization of the United States. In the span of a single lifetime, the South grew from a narrow coastal strip of worn-out tobacco plantations to a continental cotton empire, and the United States grew into a modern, industrial, and capitalist economy. Until the Civil War, Baptist explains, the most important American economic innovations were ways to make slavery ever more profitable. Through forced migration and torture, slave owners extracted continual increases in efficiency from enslaved African Americans. Thus the United States seized control of the world market for cotton, the key raw material of the Industrial Revolution, and became a wealthy nation with global influence. Told through intimate slave narratives, plantation records, newspapers, and the words of politicians, entrepreneurs, and escaped slaves, The Half Has Never Been Told offers a radical new interpretation of American history. It forces readers to reckon with the violence at the root of American supremacy, but also with the survival and resistance that brought about slavery's end—and created a culture that sustains America's deepest dreams of freedom.
Modern scholarship on the relationship between British capitalism and Caribbean slavery has been profoundly influenced by Eric Williams's 1944 classic, Capitalism and Slavery. The present volume represents the proceedings of a conference on Caribbean Slavery and British Capitalism convened in his honour in 1984, and includes essays on Dr Williams's scholarly work and influence. These essays, by thirteen scholars from the United States, England, Africa, Canada and the Caribbean, explore the relationship between Great Britain and her plantation slave colonies in the Caribbean.
Author: Sven Beckert, Seth Rockman
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
During the nineteenth century, the United States entered the ranks of the world's most advanced and dynamic economies. At the same time, the nation sustained an expansive and brutal system of human bondage. This was no mere coincidence. Slavery's Capitalism argues for slavery's centrality to the emergence of American capitalism in the decades between the Revolution and the Civil War. According to editors Sven Beckert and Seth Rockman, the issue is not whether slavery itself was or was not capitalist but, rather, the impossibility of understanding the nation's spectacular pattern of economic development without situating slavery front and center. American capitalism—renowned for its celebration of market competition, private property, and the self-made man—has its origins in an American slavery predicated on the abhorrent notion that human beings could be legally owned and compelled to work under force of violence. Drawing on the expertise of sixteen scholars who are at the forefront of rewriting the history of American economic development, Slavery's Capitalism identifies slavery as the primary force driving key innovations in entrepreneurship, finance, accounting, management, and political economy that are too often attributed to the so-called free market. Approaching the study of slavery as the originating catalyst for the Industrial Revolution and modern capitalism casts new light on American credit markets, practices of offshore investment, and understandings of human capital. Rather than seeing slavery as outside the institutional structures of capitalism, the essayists recover slavery's importance to the American economic past and prompt enduring questions about the relationship of market freedom to human freedom. Contributors: Edward E. Baptist, Sven Beckert, Daina Ramey Berry, Kathryn Boodry, Alfred L. Brophy, Stephen Chambers, Eric Kimball, John Majewski, Bonnie Martin, Seth Rockman, Daniel B. Rood, Caitlin Rosenthal, Joshua D. Rothman, Calvin Schermerhorn, Andrew Shankman, Craig Steven Wilder.
In 1834 Virgil Stewart rode from western Tennessee to a territory known as the "Arkansas morass" in pursuit of John Murrell, a thief accused of stealing two slaves. Stewart's adventure led to a sensational trial and a wildly popular published account that would ultimately help trigger widespread violence during the summer of 1835, when five men accused of being professional gamblers were hanged in Vicksburg, nearly a score of others implicated with a gang of supposed slave thieves were executed in plantation districts, and even those who tried to stop the bloodshed found themselves targeted as dangerous and subversive. Using Stewart's story as his point of entry, Joshua D. Rothman details why these events, which engulfed much of central and western Mississippi, came to pass. He also explains how the events revealed the fears, insecurities, and anxieties underpinning the cotton boom that made Mississippi the most seductive and exciting frontier in the Age of Jackson. As investors, settlers, slaves, brigands, and fortune-hunters converged in what was then America's Southwest, they created a tumultuous landscape that promised boundless opportunity and spectacular wealth. Predicated on ruthless competition, unsustainable debt, brutal exploitation, and speculative financial practices that looked a lot like gambling, this landscape also produced such profound disillusionment and conflict that it contained the seeds of its own potential destruction. Rothman sheds light on the intertwining of slavery and capitalism in the period leading up to the Panic of 1837, highlighting the deeply American impulses underpinning the evolution of the slave South and the dizzying yet unstable frenzy wrought by economic flush times. It is a story with lessons for our own day. Published in association with the Library Company of Philadelphia's Program in African American History. A Sarah Mills Hodge Fund Publication.
Calvin Schermerhorn's provocative study views the development of modern American capitalism through the window of the nineteenth-century interstate slave trade. This eye-opening history follows money and ships as well as enslaved human beings to demonstrate how slavery was a national business supported by far-flung monetary and credit systems reaching across the Atlantic Ocean. The author details the anatomy of slave supply chains and the chains of credit and commodities that intersected with them in virtually every corner of the pre–Civil War United States, and explores how an institution that destroyed lives and families contributed greatly to the growth of the expanding republic's capitalist economy.
Slavery helped finance the Industrial Revolution in England. Plantation owners, shipbuilders, and merchants connected with the slave trade accumulated vast fortunes that established banks and heavy industry in Europe and expanded the reach of capitalism worldwide. Eric Williams advanced these powerful ideas in the influential and widely debated Capitalism and Slavery, published in 1944 and based on his previously unavailable dissertation, now available in book form for the first time. Williams’s profound critique became the foundation for studies of imperialism and economic development. Establishing the exploitation of commercial capitalism and its link to racial attitudes, Williams employed a historicist vision that has set the tone for an entire field. The significant differences between his two works allows us to reconsider questions that have lost none of their urgency; indeed, whose importance has increased.
Author: John Galbraith
In his new introduction to this classic text on political economy, Galbraith reasserts the validity of the core thesis of American Capitalism: The best and established answer to economic power is the building of countervailing power. The trade union remains an equalizing force in the labor markets, and the chain store is the best answer to the market power of big food companies. This work remains an essential guidepost of American mores as well as that as of the American economy.
This book examines the historiography of nineteenth century slavery from the perspective of the “second slavery.” The concept of the second slavery emphasizes the relationship between local histories and world-economic transformations. It breaks with conventional narratives of slavery by emphasizing the expansion of reconfigured slaveries in extensive new zones of commodity production in Brazil, Cuba and the US South as part of world-economic processes of decolonization, industrialization, urbanization, and the creation of mass markets. Thus, slavery was not a moribund institution. Capitalist modernity, liberal ideology, and anti-slavery from above or from below, faced a vigorous foe that operated within the very economic, political, and cultural premises of the changing 19th century world. This perspective offers an original approach to the history of slavery. It has opened up vigorous debates over slavery and anti-slavery, Atlantic history and capitalism. An international group of scholars critically engage older traditions of scholarship on Atlantic history, the economic history of slavery, and the history of slavery in Cuba, Brazil, and the United States from the perspective of the second slavery. Each chapter reinterprets its subject matter in a way that opens out to dialogue between national historiographies and to a reformulation of Atlantic and world-economic history. This collection of essays contributes to the development of a more productive conceptual framework for the reconstruction and reinterpretation of the historical relation of slavery and world capitalism during the nineteenth century.
This book calls into question the dominant paradigm of the US slave family.
Empire of Cotton
Author: Sven Beckert
"The epic story of the rise and fall of the empire of cotton, its centrality in the world economy, and its making and remaking of global capitalism. Sven Beckert's rich, fascinating book tells the story of how, in a remarkably brief period, European entrepreneurs and powerful statesmen recast the world's most significant manufacturing industry combining imperial expansion and slave labor with new machines and wage workers to change the world. Here is the story of how, beginning well before the advent of machine production in 1780, these men created a potent innovation (Beckert calls it war capitalism, capitalism based on unrestrained actions of private individuals; the domination of masters over slaves, of colonial capitalists over indigenous inhabitants), and crucially affected the disparate realms of cotton that had existed for millennia. We see how this thing called war capitalism shaped the rise of cotton, and then was used as a lever to transform the world. The empire of cotton was, from the beginning, a fulcrum of constant global struggle between slaves and planters, merchants and statesmen, farmers and merchants, workers and factory owners. In this as in so many other ways, Beckert makes clear how these forces ushered in the modern world. The result is a book as unsettling and disturbing as it is enlightening: a book that brilliantly weaves together the story of cotton with how the present global world came to exist"--Résumé de l'éditeur.
Cul de Sac
Author: Paul Cheney
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Introduction. The colonial Cul de Sac -- Province and colony -- Production and investment -- Humanity and interest -- War and profit -- Husband and wife -- Revolution and cultivation -- Evacuation and indemnity -- Epilogue
At the center of the upheavals brought by emancipation in the American South was the economic and social transition from slavery to modern capitalism. In Between Slavery and Capitalism, Martin Ruef examines how this institutional change affected individuals, organizations, and communities in the late nineteenth century, as blacks and whites alike learned to navigate the shoals between two different economic worlds. Analyzing trajectories among average Southerners, this is perhaps the most extensive sociological treatment of the transition from slavery since W.E.B. Du Bois's Black Reconstruction in America. In the aftermath of the Civil War, uncertainty was a pervasive feature of life in the South, affecting the economic behavior and social status of former slaves, Freedmen's Bureau agents, planters, merchants, and politicians, among others. Emancipation brought fundamental questions: How should emancipated slaves be reimbursed in wage contracts? What occupations and class positions would be open to blacks and whites? What forms of agricultural tenure could persist? And what paths to economic growth would be viable? To understand the escalating uncertainty of the postbellum era, Ruef draws on a wide range of qualitative and quantitative data, including several thousand interviews with former slaves, letters, labor contracts, memoirs, survey responses, census records, and credit reports. Through a resolutely comparative approach, Between Slavery and Capitalism identifies profound changes between the economic institutions of the Old and New South and sheds new light on how the legacy of emancipation continues to affect political discourse and race and class relations today.