The Atlantic Slave Trade - Book Report/Review Example

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The rise in the plantation of these crops induced the need to import labor from Africa. These crops determine the trends of the slave and the master economy. In economy, the…
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The Atlantic Slave Trade
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The Atlantic Slave Trade INTRODUCTION The introduction aims to offer an overview of Atlantic slave trade and present different schools of thought forit; and support one particular view given by an expert on the subject.
Common points between the three staple crops and their role in stimulating the need for labor
The three great staple crops that slaves produced in the New World were tobacco, coffee, and sugar. The rise in the plantation of these crops induced the need to import labor from Africa. These crops determine the trends of the slave and the master economy. In economy, the slaves achieved success at those places where their masters were most vulnerable. The bargaining power of the slaves increased considerably with an increase in the vulnerability of the master. This led to an increase in the areas that accounted for the fragile independence of the slaves. The cotton pickers derived a state of independence in the pioneer upcountry South Carolina, owing to a shortage of labor. The tobacco bands achieved their purpose in the Chesapeake from the small size of the productive units. The sugar workers derived independence throughout America on account of the need to harvest and rapidly grind the cane. Thus, these three staple crops accounted for the attainment of some amount of independence by the slaves.
Which historiographical school of thought—or combination of schools—about the Atlantic slave trade do you find most compelling and why?
What is the thesis and argument of Eric Williams?
Eric Williams’ thesis is on Capitalism and Slavery. Eric Williams argues that industrial revolution was partly due to the fact that the profits earned from slavery were fundamental to Britain. He also argued that British industrialization was funded by Caribbean sugar plantations. This in turn accounted for slavery becoming an outdated mode of production. Williams powerfully concluded that the commercial capitalism of the eighteenth century developed the wealth of Europe by means of slavery and monopoly. But in so doing it helped to create the industrial capitalism of the nineteenth century, which turned round and destroyed the power of commercial capitalism, slavery, and all it’s works. Without a grasp of these economic changes the history of the period is meaningless. He also argues that the slave trade and slavery were abolished as they were no longer profitable.
What is the thesis and argument of David Eltis?
David Eltis has a thesis on Abolition of slave trade. He believes that particularly for the Atlantic region, similar to the British Empire, the slave trade did not expire naturally. Rather, it was killed when its significance to the Amrericas and to a lesser extent Europe was greater than at any point, in its history.
Do you think William’s position and Eltis’s positions are opposed, mutually exclusive, supportive of each other, or complementary? Why?
Their positions are opposed to each other. Eric William is of the view that the slavery ended as it was no longer profitable for the Americas. Whereas David Eltis argues that the slavery ended when the significance of the slavery grew beyond limits for the Americas and Europe.
Which view do you find more compelling? Why?
View of David Eltis is more compelling. This is so because analyzing the abolition of slave trade, it was a system that was gaining strength rather than faltering or being on the point of collapsing. The West Indies were continuously rather than declining and continued to expand even after the abolition of the slave trade.
The chapter heading poses the question, was the Atlantic slave trade caused by racism or economic profit? How would you answer that question? Explain.
The Atlantic slave trade was caused due to both racism and economic profit. Labor shortage was primarily responsible for Atlantic slave trade. Initially natives were utilized for slave labor. But with their death due to overwork and diseases, alternative sources of labor were to be sought. It was always profitable and cost effective for the Europe to export goods and crops from the New World as many crops could not be grown in Europe. As there was a need to export crops and goods, Western Africa and Central Africa became the main sources for providing enslaved people.
Roger Anstey, ‘Capitalism and slavery: A Crtique’, Economic History Review (hereafter EcHR), Second Series, XXI (1968), pp 307-20; Roger Anstey, The Atlantic Slave Trade and British Abolition, 1760-1810 (London, 1975). Read More
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