Eric williams thesis on racism and slavery

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: Eric Williams and Slavery: A West Indian Viewpoint? If so, to what extent does Eric Williams bear responsibility for the insertion of the West Indian viewpoint into an established body of research on slavery?

Eric williams thesis on racism and slavery

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University of North Carolina Press, In doing so, it challenges one-hundred years of British imperial historiography by making the controversial argument that the causes of abolition and emancipation were economic, not humanitarian.

For sources, Williams has relied heavily upon the archival research that he conducted for his dissertation, which covered the years He has reviewed parliamentary debates, stock ledgers, custom receipts, correspondence and memoranda, pamphlets, legislation, committee reports, and the material record of the slave trade, exhibited at the Wilberforce Museum in Hull.

Finally, he has emphasized the writings of contemporary historians, theorists, mercantilists, planters, politicians, and abolitionists. For inspiration, Williams has cited, among others, the oeuvre of Lowell Ragatz, an influential American historian of the British Caribbean, as well as the work of Frank Pitman.

James for its relationship to slavery.

Eric williams thesis on racism and slavery

As a foil, Williams has singled out the work of the British scholar of African history, Reginald Coupland. Like many historians before him, he has identified the American Revolution as the turning point of his analysis.

Profits from the slave trade and the Caribbean plantation complex penetrated all aspects of English society, and protectionist legislation and military force were marshalled to ensure that capital accumulated by England remained in the British economy. By citing annual import-export profits, national emoluments, and personal connections, Williams shows how capital accrued from the slave trade and the Caribbean plantation complex financed the construction of English estates, seaport towns like Bristol, Liverpool, and London, and their manufacturing counterparts like Manchester.

The triangular trade, of which the trade in black human bodies was one inextricable component, stimulated the domestic economy and lowered unemployment by establishing new overseas markets with high demands that needed a source of supply.

While the Caribbean colonies offered sugar, tobacco, indigo, ginger, and wood to England, the English textile industries supplied woolens, linens, and cloths to the colonies; meanwhile, the English fisheries in Newfoundland and the mainland colonies of America supplied the necessary provisions.

This last fact permitted West Indian planters to specialize exclusively in lucrative cash crops while their absentee landlords lobbied for their political interests in Parliament. Finally, English foundries and furnaces emerged to supply the necessary instruments of enslavement and cultivation while English production centers emerged to supply the diverse, sundry items of the African trade.

In this way, the infrastructure of industrialism was galvanized by the market forces of slavery. For example, he states that overseas markets and slave-trading capital motivated the cost-reducing technologies that came to define the English Industrial Revolution.

Specifically, this includes the steam engine, the rotary engine, the steam loom, the railroad, and the hot blast and the puddling process in iron smelting.

Capitalism & Slavery by Eric Williams

Profits fertilized the slate industry, the mining industry, the spinning jenny, the water frame, the construction of iron bridges, ships, and factories, and the beginning of interchangeable parts in the manufacturing process.

Overall, Williams argues that it is not a coincidence that slavery and the slave trade became unattractive as domestic production secondary production replaced foreign trade barter or primary production as the engine of the British economy.

It left the Caribbean colonies starved for supplies because it eliminated the provisions market, it engendered renewed competition between the soil-exhausted English islands and the relatively virgin territories of foreign nations think Saint-Dominique, Cuba, Brazil, and the Cotton Kingdom of the United Statesit created conditions of overproduction in England which could no longer be filled by the diminishing markets of the Atlantic slave trade, and it created an economically weak position from which colonial slave rebellions became more bold and more frequent.

All factors considered, by the early nineteenth century, the slave trade and the institution of slavery had lost all of their economic viability and, for the first time, humanitarian protests became aligned with the material realities of British capitalism.

Particularly, he discusses the rise of slaving interests from the English Civil War to the formation of the Company of Merchants Trading to Africa in While this section makes interesting exposition, its three major claims are less than controversial today.I enjoyed the marginalia in this book just as much as the text itself; evidently, previous readers took great exception to Williams' thesis that capitalism, not racism, was the driving force behind the development of West Indian slavery and the slave trade/5.

eric williams thesis on capitalism and slavery and arguments made for and against the thesis. Many historians justify that the evolving of the industrial revolution was based on slavery and mainly the triangular trade. Slavery and the roots of racism. As the Trinidadian historian of slavery Eric Williams put it: "Slavery was not born of racism: rather, racism was the consequence of slavery." And, one can add.

I enjoyed the marginalia in this book just as much as the text itself; evidently, previous readers took great exception to Williams' thesis that capitalism, not racism, was the driving force behind the development of West Indian slavery and the slave trade/5.

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Eric Williams, The Economic Aspect of the Abolition of the British West Indian Slave Trade and Slavery (DPhil Thesis, Oxford University, ), Also see the valuable discussion in Minchenton’s “Williams and Drescher” (84, n.


Eric williams thesis on racism and slavery

In Inward Hunger, his autobiography, he described his experience of racism in Great Britain, and the impact on him of his travels in Germany after the Nazi seizure of power.

Any conference on British capitalism and Caribbean slavery is a conference on Eric Williams." The majority of the Eric Williams thesis, which addresses the decline.

Slavery and the roots of racism |