November 21, 2014 / by admin / American History / No Comments

The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism

The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism

Edward E. Baptist

Language: English

Pages: 560

ISBN: 0465049664

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


As the historian Edward E. Baptist reveals in The Half Has Never Been Told, the expansion of slavery in the first eight decades after American independence was the primary driver of the evolution and modernization of the United States. Drawing on intimate slave narratives, plantation records, newspapers, and the words of politicians, entrepreneurs, and escaped slaves, Baptist offers a radical new interpretation of American history.

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Court ruled that the people of Georgia could not overturn the sale. The contract might have been accomplished by bribery. It may have contravened the will of the majority of white Georgians. But the sale to the investors’ land companies was a sale of property all the same, and property rights, by the chief justice’s interpretation of the contract clause of the Constitution, were absolute. The people who invested in the company—mostly New England money-market types and bankers—should be repaid

gap between the almost impassable wetlands and the Mississippi. The invaders’ fleet had balked at the attempt to get their troops up the winding and fortified river. Instead the British army landed almost in the rear of New Orleans on Lake Borgne, and passed by canal and path through the woods over the course of December 22 and 23. Some 5,500 regulars under Edward Pakenham, a thirty- sevenyear- old veteran of the Napoleonic wars, now stood almost within sight of New Orleans, five miles from the

6/23/14 1:56 PM 132 T h e H a l f H a s N e v e r B e e n T ol d Image 4.3. Carrying the cotton from the fields to the gin stand for the weigh-in, at the end of the day. Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, March 1854, p. 457. as many lashes as there were pounds short” in the “draft of cotton” recorded beside the name “Israel” on the Irish-born overseer’s slate. (A “draft” was a check that paid off a debt, in the commercial lingo of the time.) On the hardpacked earth of Belfer’s cotton yard,

over time in the quantity picked reveals that somehow they succeeded.46 But how? Look at enslavers’ language. It assumed that some human beings could be reduced to appendages of others. Yet it also mirrored the words that formerly enslaved people used to describe the experience of picking cotton. For they remembered that to pick quickly enough to turn cotton entrepreneurs’ calculations about profit into reality, one had to disembody oneself. Picking all day long until late at night, even by

her. For they knew that no matter how they strove with their song, she would never see her mother again. As the men sang the verse again, they saw her bend down, holding onto the handle of her hoe for support. Here she was, all alone. Her chest lifted and fell in convulsions. She could not bring herself to go on living by herself. But they were asking her not to let herself die. Sobs began to heave out of her mouth. The men came around to the chorus. They felt the pain in their own dead flesh,

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