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Publisher's Summary

During the 19th 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 16 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, and Craig Steven Wilder.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2016 University of Pennsylvania Press (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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Very informative

It helps you understand slavery's contribution to borh the American economy and its influence on society as whole. I found particularly interesting the chapters on the capital created with slave labor and its contribution to the development of northern induatries. Also, the chapter about the Catholic church and Slavery in the U.S.

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  • Matthew O'Neil
  • 13-11-2020

Read it, white people

This should be taught in every history and economics class in the US. Incredibly important for anyone, but especially white people, to read.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 15-05-2020

Brilliant, though inelegant in its organization

One of the most fascinating topics out there. This collection of essays makes a convincing and chilling argument for how capitalism, contrary to popular belief, was wholly compatible with the institution of slavery. in fact, it was more than compatible; it was complicit in the growth of American slavery throughout the antebellum period.

The book, though, doesn't stop there. it makes a further argument that our modern global capitalist economy was built on a foundation of slave labor: as the cotton that fueled the textile mills--crucial for the early days of global industrialization--were grown and picked by American slaves.

My only critique of this book is that, as a collection of individual essays, the book lacks strong connective tissue chapter to chapter. All the essays are connected by a singular theme, but that theme--the inter-relation of slavery and capitalism--is incredibly broad, and so each individual chapter can cover vastly different aspects of this theme. At times, the arrangement of the essays leads to a rather jarring shift of focus from chapter to chapter.

But, aside from this, the book is excellent and a mi
must-read.

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  • Peaceful Ruler
  • 22-10-2019

The truth about America's economic power

The school history classes will not explore the depths of America's capitalism and the detrimental effects of slavery. This book is throught provoking, makes the reader angry, and brings tears to moments of how cruel humanity can be for profit. There is so much research in this book that I will have to listen and read it about three times to get a better understanding of the rich content.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 30-01-2018

The volume is so low I can't hear it.

I have listened to almost 100 audiobooks on Audible and this is by far the very worst. Buyer beware.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Hungurr
  • 07-06-2017

very enlightening

excellent insights into slavery's impact on development of the nation's economy and thoughts about non mainstream ideas why the North opposed slavery

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  • io
  • 01-02-2018

good book editor should do his/her freaking job

cheaper 32 the reader repeatedly calls the rothschild's the rothshields. Maybe that is some different pronunciation of Rothschild I have never heard before. luckily that particular reader isn't on very long. please get people that know something about the subject to read and listen to the book before you publish it.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 28-01-2021

Interesting read

Amazing book which introduces many concepts, fundamental to American history, that few people are aware of.

There were a few chapters somewhere in the middle of the book about financing that were a bit to statistics focused in my opinion.

Overall, definitely a book that I will come back to for future research.

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  • Angela K.
  • 01-01-2021

In depth info on how entrenched slavery was

Good narration, eye-opening information, takes time, but it's worth listening to and reflecting on how the U.S. societies were so intertwined. it definitely fills a gap in my historical knowledge.

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  • Joe F.
  • 23-12-2020

Enlightening!

Very little non-academic readings exists on this subject. This book offers a comprehensive set of facts illustrating the importance of slavery in America’s economic development. The materials are also clear and easily understood.

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