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How slavery shaped the market economy and abolitionists gave us our ideals The American Crucible furnishes a vivid and authoritative history of the rise and fall of slavery in the Americas. For over three centuries enslavement promoted the rise of capitalism in the Atlantic world. The New World became the crucible for a succession of fateful experiments in colonization, How slavery shaped the market economy and abolitionists gave us our ideals The American Crucible furnishes a vivid and authoritative history of the rise and fall of slavery in the Americas. For over three centuries enslavement promoted the rise of capitalism in the Atlantic world. The New World became the crucible for a succession of fateful experiments in colonization, silver mining, plantation agriculture, racial enslavement, colonial rebellion, slave witness and slave resistance. Slave produce raised up empires, fostered new cultures of consumption and financed the breakthrough to an industrial order.Not until the stirrings of a revolutionary age in the 1780s was there the first public challenge to the ‘peculiar institution’. An anti-slavery alliance then set the scene for great acts of emancipation in Haiti in 1804, Britain in 1833–8, the United States in the 1860s, and Cuba and Brazil in the 1880s. In The American Crucible, Robin Blackburn argues that the anti-slavery movement forged many of the ideals we live by today.


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How slavery shaped the market economy and abolitionists gave us our ideals The American Crucible furnishes a vivid and authoritative history of the rise and fall of slavery in the Americas. For over three centuries enslavement promoted the rise of capitalism in the Atlantic world. The New World became the crucible for a succession of fateful experiments in colonization, How slavery shaped the market economy and abolitionists gave us our ideals The American Crucible furnishes a vivid and authoritative history of the rise and fall of slavery in the Americas. For over three centuries enslavement promoted the rise of capitalism in the Atlantic world. The New World became the crucible for a succession of fateful experiments in colonization, silver mining, plantation agriculture, racial enslavement, colonial rebellion, slave witness and slave resistance. Slave produce raised up empires, fostered new cultures of consumption and financed the breakthrough to an industrial order.Not until the stirrings of a revolutionary age in the 1780s was there the first public challenge to the ‘peculiar institution’. An anti-slavery alliance then set the scene for great acts of emancipation in Haiti in 1804, Britain in 1833–8, the United States in the 1860s, and Cuba and Brazil in the 1880s. In The American Crucible, Robin Blackburn argues that the anti-slavery movement forged many of the ideals we live by today.

30 review for The American Crucible: Slavery, Emancipation and Human Rights

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Human rights as the obverse of racial order [Through my ratings, reviews and edits I'm providing intellectual property and labor to Amazon.com Inc., listed on Nasdaq, which fully owns Goodreads.com and in 2013 posted revenues for $74 billion and $274 million profits. Intellectual property and labor require compensation. Amazon.com Inc. is also requested to provide assurance that its employees and contractors' work conditions meet the highest health and safety standards at all the company's sit Human rights as the obverse of racial order [Through my ratings, reviews and edits I'm providing intellectual property and labor to Amazon.com Inc., listed on Nasdaq, which fully owns Goodreads.com and in 2013 posted revenues for $74 billion and $274 million profits. Intellectual property and labor require compensation. Amazon.com Inc. is also requested to provide assurance that its employees and contractors' work conditions meet the highest health and safety standards at all the company's sites]. Boring as hell. A lukewarm review of the historical literature covering the classic slavery timeline, without a problem to solve. I had a few, actually. For instance, why was slavery so wondrously compatible with capitalism? And why were human rights championed by those who needed slavery or racial segregation to continue their mode of life (see Thomas Jefferson's declaration of independence and Jan Smut's universal declaration of human rights - by the way, the partenity of the declaration of human rights by South Africa's Apertheid leader goes unnoticed here)? As to the first question, probably the book's main contribution consists in identifying a certain 'polarization' of the atlantic economy as the cause for the Great Divergence (the productivity boom associated with industrialization). Slavery made possible a shift away from subsistence economy, denying subsistence to a significan portion of the population, and thereby 'opening' the economy. With slavery, producers of feedstock (the planters) are thousand miles away from the producers of the finished product and its consumers. And the planters' workforce do not partake in the consumption of the commodity they toil on. Slave economy is an economy of extremes, a globalized, polarized economy: production in one place, consumption far away. Which is what we have now. As the Haitian case exemplifies, people if free tend to turn to subsistence: not to depend on international commodity markets with their steep price fluctuations, not to be indebted up to their eyes. Slavery permitted the creation of a polarized, risky, global economy based on debt. Second question: the declarations are written in the interest of their authors. In revolutionary France, all men are equal 'subject to utility'. For 1948 United Nations, all men are equal 'subject to their access to sovreignty'. In 1776 Philadelphia, all men are equal 'subject to their willingness to fight'. The rub is in the 'subject to' - to which the declaration's authors are always able to comply. The conditionality of human rights thus provides a solid foundation for (racial) social order: the racially inferior are those who did not fight for their freedom, or did not manage to get access to sovreignty, or did not put together a convincing business case for their social recognition. Just that, not that anyone is essentialist around here.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Steven

    My one qualm is that its prose is relatively academic which makes it a bit dense. That said, this is an amazing, broad-scoped, well-argued, and in-depth history of slavery. It covers everything from the profligate differences between chattel/plantation slavery and the forms of slavery in previous societies, to the complicated relationship between the slave owners in the U.S. south and the industrialists in the north. This book adds nuance and depth to the story about the West's desire for cheap My one qualm is that its prose is relatively academic which makes it a bit dense. That said, this is an amazing, broad-scoped, well-argued, and in-depth history of slavery. It covers everything from the profligate differences between chattel/plantation slavery and the forms of slavery in previous societies, to the complicated relationship between the slave owners in the U.S. south and the industrialists in the north. This book adds nuance and depth to the story about the West's desire for cheap labor, and how it is intertwined with the emergence of capitalism. And there is a large amount on the Haitian revolution which we need to talk about more!!!

  3. 4 out of 5

    John

    Wow, this is a really comprehensive, solid book, and by solid, I mean not only solid scholarship, but also seriously impressive tome-ic weightiness. This could be subtitled "everything you ever wanted to know about slavery and emancipation in the Atlantic World." Blackburn's focus at the end on the concept of "human rights" even allows him to carry this all the way up to basically the present day, although by that point I have to admit I was really ready for the book to be over. Getting through Wow, this is a really comprehensive, solid book, and by solid, I mean not only solid scholarship, but also seriously impressive tome-ic weightiness. This could be subtitled "everything you ever wanted to know about slavery and emancipation in the Atlantic World." Blackburn's focus at the end on the concept of "human rights" even allows him to carry this all the way up to basically the present day, although by that point I have to admit I was really ready for the book to be over. Getting through the American Reconstruction era and then through the abolition of slavery in Brazil and Cuba took many pages, and was quite interesting- but by then the book is already at 300+ pages. Tracing the mid-20th century concept of "human rights" back to abolitionism could really be a separate study all its own. This serves well as an introductory textbook (this is how my professor used it) for slavery and abolitionism. Blackburn is synthesizing many dozens of authors into one big sweeping narrative, so any one chapter could be used to make a reading list about a particular part of the slavery/abolition era. Blackburn also makes a good case for the importance of the Haitian Revolution to the whole story, which apparently people have been arguing about for two hundred years- did the Haitian Revolution help end slavery in the long run, or hurt the abolitionist cause? Good book to keep on the bookshelf for future reference.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lucas Miller

    This is an expansive volume. That covers the entirety of the Atlantic slavery from 1492-1888, as well as covering many topics connected to the legacy of slavery and emancipation into the 21st century. Reading it at the steady pace I did (about 23 pages a day) still made the book seem unwieldy in its vast array of topics. I feel like I'll return to this work like for reference often. I particularly value the way the author periodizes the history of slavery and emancipation. It was also very eye o This is an expansive volume. That covers the entirety of the Atlantic slavery from 1492-1888, as well as covering many topics connected to the legacy of slavery and emancipation into the 21st century. Reading it at the steady pace I did (about 23 pages a day) still made the book seem unwieldy in its vast array of topics. I feel like I'll return to this work like for reference often. I particularly value the way the author periodizes the history of slavery and emancipation. It was also very eye opening to read a more transnational account of Atlantic slavery giving equal weight to Slavery in The United States, the Caribbean, and Latin America. I'm not sure that the Human Rights of the subtitle earns its place there in the text. While the concept of Human Rights is sprinkled throughout the books (with lots of references to Lynn Hunt's Inventing Human Rights) it never feels very systematic until maybe the last ten pages of the concluding chapter. Overall, this book complicated everything I know about slavery and emancipation. It has set before me at least a dozen books culled from the footnotes that I believe deserve a full reading, and has sparked a legitimate interest in seeking out more British leftist Historians and reading the New Left Review. Recommended.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Eric Dowdle

    Extremely interesting information covering the breadth and variation of the Atlantic slave trade. Pretty dry, but a must-read for anyone who wants to understand that very dark part of history that built the foundation of our society. So, everyone.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Williams Parker

    If you want a detailed understanding of the dynamics of the Atlantic slave system and emancipation, look no farther.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Erik Wirfs-Brock

    Attempts to do far too much in a one volume summary which attempts to recount the entire history of American Slavery as well as explore how reactions to slavery affected the modern conception of human rights. An ambitious project indeed, and to me this felt like a jumbled summary of history with a weakly connected thesis.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Riet

    Een wel erg uitgebreide geschiedenis van de slavernij in de Atlantische staten. Geen vreselijke pesoonlijke gschiedenissen van ex-slaven etc., maar een geschiedenis vanuit het economisch, sociaal-maatschappelijk en politiek perspectief. Over het algemeen vlot geschreven en goed leesbaar, maar met af en toe wat taaie stukken. Het boek had wat mij betreft met een derde ingekort kunnen worden.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Martin Empson

    An absolutely incredible single volume history of slavery and the struggle to end it. Full Review: http://resolutereader.blogspot.co.uk/... An absolutely incredible single volume history of slavery and the struggle to end it. Full Review: http://resolutereader.blogspot.co.uk/...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Rotteau

  11. 4 out of 5

    Douglas G Jones

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ellen Marcolongo

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jason

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jacob

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kyle

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kyle

  18. 5 out of 5

    Amy

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mohamed M

  20. 5 out of 5

    Zane Curtis-olsen

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mike Mann

  22. 4 out of 5

    Simon Wood

  23. 5 out of 5

    Diarmaid

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Brown

  25. 5 out of 5

    Isaac Pena

  26. 5 out of 5

    Andy Prignano

  27. 5 out of 5

    James

  28. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  29. 4 out of 5

    James

  30. 5 out of 5

    Cham

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