Book Report: Capitalism & Slavery by Eric Williams Essay

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Book Report: Capitalism & Slavery by Eric Williams

"Capitalism & Slavery," (published by The University of North Carolina Press, 1994) was written by Eric Eustace Williams and first published in 1944. Eric Williams' book, was at the time of its publication, considered years ahead of its time. It should be noted, early on within this report that, literary works on the history of the Caribbean or slavery for a matter of fact, was done by Europeans. In the preface of his book, Williams clearly asserts that his work, "is not a study of the institution of slavery but of the contribution of slavery to the development of British capitalism."1 His work takes an economic view of history, which is at the core of his arguments and thus
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During the eighteenth century the colonial system was based on the monopoly and the mercantilist system. However, this would all change as British Capitalism found the West Indian monopoly to be holding it back. There was a great shift from the dependency on the colonies and therefore slavery. The authors his right on target when he asserts that, "when British capitalism depended on the West Indies, they ignored slavery or defended it."5 Hence, it can be seen how convenient it was for British Capitalist to support the abolition of slavery. This is a critical point as it can be seen how economics dictated, peoples actions. The almighty pound, led British Capitalist to push for abolition of slavery only because they would be able to make even more money if slavery, monopoly and the mercantilist system were smashed. Hence, it can be stated that if the abolition of slavery did not enhance British Capitalist economically, they would not have pushed for its abolition. Finally, although there were genuine humanitarians pushing for an end to slavery, some were masquerading as humanitarians so they could enhance their economics situation even more. In Capitalism & Slavery the author corrects many inaccurate conceptions. It was thought that slavery accrued because of racism. However, in reality racism was a result of slavery. The Indians were the first slaves in the Caribbean but after they were, soon found to be

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