Kevin M. Kruse+ Your Authors @KevinMKruse Historian. Author/editor of White Flight; The New Suburban History; Spaces of the Modern City; Fog of War; One Nation Under God; Fault Lines. Mar. 21, 2019 1 min read + Your Authors

No, historian understands that when an angry person says only 4% of southern white families held slaves when 32% did, that person is wrong.

But historian also understands that historians would agree that the American economy was built on slave labor.

I mean, there's a pretty significant literature on the connections between slavery and the origins of American capitalism.

These blurbs from Eric Foner and Ed Ayers, two of the most prominent 19th-century US historians, captures the prevailing view well.

Those blurbs are for a recent edited collection that captures some of the best new work in the field: SLAVERY'S CAPITALISM, edited by Brown's @sethrockman and Harvard's @Sven_Beckert, two other leading historians in the field. 

In addition to that volume, @Sven_Beckert won the Bancroft for his brilliant book Empire of Cotton and @sethrockman racked up three big prizes of his own for his terrific Scraping By, on wage labor and slavery in Baltimore. 

Lots of other prominent historians doing prize-winning work on this topic.

The Half Has Never Been Told, by Cornell's @Ed_Baptist, won the Craven Award. 

Or Harvard's Walter Johnson, who won a raft of prizes for River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom 

Again, that's just a sampling, but as you can see, the historians are pretty much agreed here -- in terms of the works we're writing and the ones we're awarding the profession's top prizes.

You can follow @KevinMKruse.


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