Kevin M. Kruse @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

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.  http://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/book/15556.html 

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.

 https://www.amazon.com/Scraping-Survival-Baltimore-American-Philadelphia/dp/0801890071 

 https://www.amazon.com/Empire-Cotton-History-Sven-Beckert/dp/0375713964/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=empire+of+cotton&qid=1553138193&s=books&sr=1-1 

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.  https://www.amazon.com/Half-Has-Never-Been-Told/dp/0465049664 

Or Harvard's Walter Johnson, who won a raft of prizes for River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom  https://www.amazon.com/River-Dark-Dreams-Slavery-Kingdom/dp/0674975383/ref=pd_sim_14_6/147-3191087-0832700?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=0674975383&pd_rd_r=92088289-4b87-11e9-ab61-797b93d62bc4&pd_rd_w=oshAZ&pd_rd_wg=EN7kO&pf_rd_p=90485860-83e9-4fd9-b838-b28a9b7fda30&pf_rd_r=GW4VBZ8GE0RA4Q02MT3P&psc=1&refRID=GW4VBZ8GE0RA4Q02MT3P 

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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