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Edward Baptist's The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism: General Information
Douglas Decelle composes an unbiased and organized summarization of "The Half Has Never Been Told". Throughout this summarization, he touches on each chapter and highlights the importance of varying issues that were at the focus of Baptists' thesis. These pivotal points shine a light on the capitalization of slave labor and provide a formalized outlook on the book.
Political compromise and profit motives preserved slavery at the United States’ birth and kept it expanding for a century. Slavery wasn’t merely a backward institution ended by the Civil War, a common assessment. Instead, historian Edward E. Baptist asserts that it underwrote American wealth and power and inspired modern capitalism. Charting the parallel growth of cotton and the rosters of enslaved people, Baptist details the intricate relationships between slavery and the US economy. In the process, he brings to life the people whom slavery had turned into commodities.
Historians discuss how they believe Baptist utilized the limited availability of first-hand evidence to further procure the narrative which he utilized to present his stance of slavery's impact on the US economy. For the newer crop of historians, the important relationship is not the psychological one between master and slave. It’s the economic one between slaves and the markets that moved and trapped them. Source: (The Chronicle of Higher Education - Marc Perry)
Scott Curtis, author, discusses how Baptists' critical outlook on slavery sheds a new light and provides a deeper interpretation into the age of slavery and its economic role within the United States economy. Despite the backlash he has received from many historians, Curtis emphasizes the importance of painting a full picture of slavery and its role in economic growth at that time.
In his opinionated blog, Bradley Hansen, a professor of economics at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia, critiques "The Half Has Never Been Told", stating that, "the fundamental flaws in the book arise from Baptist’s historical methods, not his economics." Source: (Bradley Hansen's Blog)
Kevin Levin opens a discussion panel, focusing on the varying critiques of 'The Half Has Never Been Told". In his discussion, Levin dissects varying interpretations of the book and accompanying reflections from various news outlets (ie New York Times). Levin opens a virtual discussion panel where others are able to input their own opinions for consideration.
The Economist - Controversial Article and Ensuing Backlash
After publishing a scathing review of Edward Baptists' "The Half Has Never Been Told", the journal received copious amounts of backlash for comments such as, "not all slave owners were bad...". They have since apologized and left available the originally released review.
Author Arit John provides an in depth look into the public backlash and erroneous structure of The Economist's critical review of Baptists' "The Half Has Never Been Told". In said review, the most critical pieces from the Economist stems from the claim that "not all slave owners were bad". John provides social media examples from both The Economist and Baptists' private account to provide a timeline of the public responses to the review that sparked outrage amongst historians and economists alike. Source (The Atlantic - Arit John)
Baptist discusses The Economist's review of his book, pointing out the errors in the article where the publishers seek to diminish the value of slavery at that time while failing to recognize the economic value of this slave labor. Throughout his response to The Economists' review, he defends his stance that one must look through microeconomic and macroeconomic spectrums and isolate the economic factors of slavery in order to grasp a true understanding of the concepts he presents. Source: (Politico Magazine - Edward Baptist)
Interviews with the Author
Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism
Interviews with Edward Baptist
On April 19, 2016, Dr. Edward Baptist, Associate Professor of History at Cornell University, offered reflections on his book, "The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism." The event was part of the 2016 DC Emancipation Day Symposium hosted by the Georgetown University Working Group on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation.
Featuring Fr. Matthew Carnes, S.J., Dr. Ed Baptist (F'92), Dr. Maurice Jackson (G'95, G'01), and Connor Maytnier (C'17).
Edward Baptist, an associate history professor at Cornell University, contends that slavery drove the United States' transformation into a global, economic force. Mr. Baptist speaks at Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Throughout this discussion, Baptist discusses the varying chapters of his book, providing a brief overview of the content and making clear the themes he sought to discuss. He continues on discussing the backlash he received from "The Economist" and their take on his published work.
Historian Edward E. Baptist visited Google's Cambridge, MA office to discuss his book, "The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism". As he shows in the book, slavery and its expansion were central to the evolution and modernization of our nation in the 18th and 19th centuries, catapulting the US into a modern, industrial and capitalist economy. In the span of a single lifetime, the South grew from a narrow coastal strip of worn-out tobacco plantations to a sub-continental cotton empire. By 1861 it had five times as many slaves as it had during the Revolution, and was producing two billion pounds of cotton a year. It was through slavery and slavery alone that the United States achieved a virtual monopoly on the production of cotton, the key raw material of the Industrial Revolution, and was transformed into a global power rivaled only by England. Baptist takes questions on the book and discusses the innovative nature of his research.
Dr. Baptist is Associate Professor of History at Cornell. "The Half Has Never Been Told" is his second book; his first was "Creating an Old South: Middle Florida’s Plantation Frontier Before the Civil War".
EDWARD BAPTIST on his controversial new book, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism-how slavery in the 100 years after American independence drove the rise of the United States to a world power. He goes on to discuss where some of the stories he has included in his book stem from, providing a new perspective on the importance of first hand accounts.
Al Zambone is joined by Bob Elder, Assistant Professor of History at Valparaiso University and, like Al, a historian of the American South where they discuss the capitalistic nature of slavery. Elder argues that historians see slavery as a benign source of labor rather than from a capitalist position. The two discuss how Baptists' attempts to produce books that reach a wide range of audiences dilute his credibility as he tries to make his mark through adopting newer positions. Source (Historically Thinking Podcast - feat. Al Zambone and Bob Elder)