Great read. These things are important to read about slavery.
(1) Slavery was a key driver of the formation of American wealth.
argues that our narrative of slavery generally goes something like
this: it was a terrible thing, but it was an anomoly, a sort of feudal
throwback within capitalism whose demise would inevitably come with the
rise of wage labor. In fact, he argues, it was at the heart of the
development of American capitalism.
Baptist crunches economic
data to come up with a "back-of-the-envelope" estimate of how much
slavery contributed to the American economy both directly and
indirectly. "All told, more than $600 million, or almost half of the
economic activity in the United States in 1836, derived directly or
indirectly from cotton produced by the million-odd slaves -- 6 percent
of the total US population -- who in that year toiled in labor camps on
By 1850, he writes, American slaves were worth $1.3 billion, one-fifth of the nation's wealth.)
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