Final Paperfor MMW5

Final Paperfor MMW5 - Boogar 1 Liam Boogar Section A07...

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Boogar 1 Liam Boogar Section A07, Steve Griffin Final Paper: [MMW5 – WI 2008] 11-03-08 Slave Trade: An Economic Dependency When examining periods of history, it is easy for readers to get lost in the social and political points that often cover up the real issue, especially periods of great change. It is easy to take the winning side of a rebellion and assume their justification for the opposition of the losing side is the major point of conflict. Particularly, when taking a look at the conflict between the North and the South in the 19 th century, it is easy to assume that the moral North opposed the South because it continued to hold immoral standards – but when is history ever so black and white? When examining this piece of history – the United States slave trade from the 1800s to the 1860s – it is easy to get lost in the social and political thought of the time. With so much tension, even today, concerning American slavery, there is an unavoidable question, which must be asked: How did the Antebellum South Justify the continuation of slavery from 1800s-1860s? Through persistent deciphering of economic and historic works about this period of time, it is clear that the Antebellum South, above all, held a certain economic dependency. This period of time marks a convenient one for the researcher, as economics as a general school of thought began to take form at this time; old censes and reports from local governments provide insight to the economic situation of the late 18 th and early 19 th centuries.
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Boogar 2 In Slaver and American Economic Development, author Gavin Wright presents a general ‘North vs. South’ look at the “regional wealth in 1774” (Wright 57). Wright notes that initially, “slave labor made possible an accumulation of wealth for the free population of the South that put them considerable ahead of their Northern counterparts” (Wright 57). Wright illustrates the initial benefit of slave labor in the South, with wealth per capita at 54.7 pounds per sterling in the South, and only 39.3 in the North. Wright also illustrates that, in 1774, the population in the 13 Colonies was almost evenly spread; however, Wright continues to show how a large population influx in the North caused the population growth in the North to “nearly [double] the South… over a sixty-year period,” which would justify how “by 1850, the North more than doubled the South in total value of farmland and buildings” (Wright 57-8). It is obvious that, with an ever expanding North, and a South only growing in slave population, the total value of farmland in the North would outweigh that of the South. One must examine the per capita wealth, a difficult task when comparing the South’s slave wealth to the non-human wealth in the North. Wright shows how, when looking at non-human wealth, by 1860, the North
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Final Paperfor MMW5 - Boogar 1 Liam Boogar Section A07...

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