Logo

What Your Social Studies Teacher Didn’t Tell You About Slavery

April V. Taylor

The new book, “The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery And The Making of American Capitalism,” by Edward Baptist has incited an onslaught of controversy regarding his examination of the slavery and suffering of generations of Black people who were bought and sold and the economic wealth and power that was made possible from their exploitation.  Baptist is a history professor at Cornell University, and his new book takes a different approach than Social Studies texts that cram 250 years of history into a few menial chapters by writing from a narrative perspective of individual voices of slaves and using economic data to paint a very personal and clear picture of slavery and its consequences.

Baptist makes five fundamental points about slavery that many Americans are not taught.  The first one is that slavery was a key catalyst for the formation of American wealth and power.  He asserts that the expansion of American capitalism happened, “on the backs of enslaved human beings,” and that multiple financial innovations such as bonds and mortgages grew out of the American slave trade.  To quote Baptist, “The idea that the commodification and suffering of forced labor of African-Americans is what made the United States powerful and rich is not an idea that people necessarily are happy to hear.  Yet it is the truth.”  Historian Seth Rockman points out that Baptist has broken new ground by connecting, “the day-to-day violence of plantation labor to the largest macroeconomic questions of the West’s economic takeoff in the 19th century.”  Baptist estimates that nearly half of the economic activity in the U.S. in 1836, which was more than $600 million, was derived in one way or another from cotton produced by a million or so slaves.  This means 6 percent of the total population of the U.S. was responsible for nearly half of the economic activity of the entire country.

One may wonder how something like that was even possible, but Baptist answers that question, by uncovering the fact that cotton quotas that were enforced by brutal whippings continued to increase until slaves reached picking speeds that pushed the limits of physical possibility.  Another key component of slavery’s contribution to capitalism that is overlooked by American textbooks and teachers is the fact that slavery was not just responsible for enriching the South; it was also an integral part of driving the Northern industrial revolution.  Had it not been for the huge volumes of cotton being produced in the south, textile mills would not have had raw material to process.

One of the most blatant lies perpetrated by American textbooks is that Southern states seceded in an attempt to defend the, “abstract constitutional principle of ‘state’s rights.'”  Baptist points out that participants at every Democratic national convention, “made it explicit: they were seceding because they thought secession would protect the future of slavery,” and therefore guarantee the South’s continued economic growth.

Baptist’s work will surely add to the information presented by such historians as Walter Johnson from Harvard, who wrote “River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom,” and Craig Steven Wilder from MIT who wrote “Ebony & Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities.” Together these three authors connect the dots of how slave labor, London bankers, Northeast factories and the creation of Ivy League universities gave way to America being one of the richest and most powerful countries in the world.  Maybe one day American textbooks and Social Studies teachers will take note.

 

SOURCE

april

132 Comment

  1. hiçbir difficulty yaşamazsınız. Dikkat etmeniz hem sizin hem de hesabınızın güvenliği için iyi olacaktır. Aksi halde hesabınızdan olabilirsiniz.

  2. Im thankful for the blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Much obliged.

  3. Really enjoyed this article post. Really Cool.

  4. Thank you for your article. Awesome.

  5. I loved your article.Really thank you! Awesome.

  6. Very informative article.Really thank you! Will read on…

  7. Major thankies for the blog. Want more.

  8. Really enjoyed this post.Really thank you! Really Great.

  9. Im obliged for the blog.Thanks Again. Cool.

  10. Say, you got a nice article post.

  11. Very neat article post. Really Great.

  12. This is one awesome blog article.Thanks Again. Great.

  13. Great, thanks for sharing this article post.Thanks Again. Keep writing.

  14. There is apparently a bunch to know about this. I feel you made certain good points in features also.

  15. I value the article. Much obliged.

  16. Thanks for sharing, this is a fantastic article post.Really looking forward to read more. Will read on…

  17. Hi thanks for this great content, we need more people with informative articles these days.

  18. Thank you ever so for you blog post. Really Great.

  19. This is very fascinating, You’re an overly professional blogger. I’ve joined your rss feed and sit up for in search of more of your great post. Also, I have shared your site in my social networks!

  20. Im thankful for the post. Fantastic.

  21. A big thank you for your post.Really looking forward to read more. Great.

  22. I appreciate you sharing this article. Cool.

  23. Say, you got a nice blog article.Much thanks again. Awesome.

  24. It is the best time to make some plans for the future and it’s time to be happy. I’ve read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you some interesting things or suggestions. Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article. I desire to read even more things about it!

  25. Hey, thanks for the blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Much obliged.

  26. I am perpetually thought about this, appreciate it for posting .

  27. Many thanks really practical. Will share site with my friends.

  28. Fantastic goods from you, man. I have take into accout your stuff previous to and you’re just too excellent. I really like what you’ve received right here, certainly like what you are saying and the way in which during which you are saying it. You’re making it entertaining and you still care for to stay it wise. I cant wait to learn far more from you. That is actually a great web site.

  29. I savour, lead to I discovered exactly what I used to be having a look for. You have ended my four day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

  30. Encontre as Melhores Ofertas e Cupons no Os10Melhores. Reunimos promoções de Smartphones, TVs, Moda e muito mais. O menor preço nas melhores lojas.

  31. Major thanks for the blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Really Great.

  32. Really enjoyed this post.Thanks Again. Awesome.

Leave a Comment

Email (will not be published)