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Cotton, slavery, and the new history of capitalism

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  • Olmstead, Alan L.
  • Rhode, Paul W.

Abstract

The “New History of Capitalism” grounds the rise of industrial capitalism on the production of raw cotton by American slaves. Recent works include Sven Beckert's Empire of Cotton, Walter Johnson's River of Dark Dreams, and Edward Baptist's The Half Has Never Been Told. All three authors mishandle historical evidence and mis-characterize important events in ways that affect their major interpretations on the nature of slavery, the workings of plantations, the importance of cotton and slavery in the broader economy, and the sources of the Industrial Revolution and world development.

Suggested Citation

  • Olmstead, Alan L. & Rhode, Paul W., 2018. "Cotton, slavery, and the new history of capitalism," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 1-17.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:67:y:2018:i:c:p:1-17
    DOI: 10.1016/j.eeh.2017.12.002
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