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.
About the Author
Edward E. Baptist, PhD, teaches history at Cornell University and is the author of the award-winning Creating an Old South.