Africa, the Americas, and the Atlantic Slave Trade

Scholars have debated the reasons for the abolition of slavery in the Americas, which took place gradually between the 1820s and 1888, the height of the Industrial Revolution. In the 1940s, the scholar (and the first Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago) Eric Williams, in his book Capitalism and Slavery, argued that slavery ended because capitalism had made wage labor more profitable. Since then, scholars like Seymour Drescher, in his book Econocide (1977–that is, “Economic Suicide”) have shown that Williams was wrong in fact–slavery had never been more profitable than at the time of its abolition. Further, scholars have shown that slavery was a product of the rise of capitalism. Why, then, did slavery in the Americas end over the course of the nineteenth century? There are important differences between countries such as Mexico, The United States, Cuba, and Brazil, but there are certain commonalities between them. 


Posts should consist of four full paragraphs.

Posts should be carefully proofread for errors of spelling, grammar, syntax, etc. I know this is discussion assignment, but you should treat it like an essay.

The first paragraph should introduce your thesis, which is a specific statement answering the question. This should be underlined. Each paragraph should also begin with a clear topic sentence, with every sentence in that paragraph relating directly to it.

The fourth paragraph should assess how and why your thinking has changed over the course of the unit, citing specific evidence.

Cite your evidence parenthetically like this (Woolley, Lecture 2, 03:31-03:58) for lectures, with the time stamp, or (Green, 72) for the readings. You should accurately cite as many lectures and readings as possible, but at least 4 in total for a passing grade.

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