Chorus: I’m looking for the half that’s never been told Not looking for the streets that are paved with gold I wanna hear the rest of the story told when I get there I wanna hear the voice of the One who died Telling of the things never been described Revealing every truth of eternal life Baptist, who teaches at Cornell University, is the author of a well-regarded study of slavery in Florida. Baptist shows how slaves struggled to recreate a sense of community in the face of this disaster. Many, however, expressed their humanity by bestowing tiny favors on one another in the few hours available at night in their cabins.Â From this slave cabin culture emerged some of the most distinct forms of Black culture including the Black English Dialect, free-form dancing, and several new musical forms.Â The banjo, as it turns out, is not a uniquely American instrument, but an import from Africa, which has gone on to become a beloved American tradition.Â Â Â Much the same can be said of the Blues, Jazz, Soul, Rap, Ragtime, and other distinctly African American innovations. Andrew Jackson was of modest birth but he was relentlessly combative because of this he was admired by the mass of non-elite constituents, who celebrated his inauguration with a brawling bash that upended furniture and laid waste to parts of the White House.Â, One of Jacksonâs exploits illustrates the bravado he embodied.Â He ended the charter of the United States Bank, headed by blue-blood director Nicholas Biddle.Â Biddle’s bank did not cease operations immediately.Â But Jacksonâs actions created a credit void that a group of start-up banks filled.Â The most notable of these was the CAPL or Consolidated Association of Planters of Louisiana.Â This bank was the work of planters themselves who put their heads together to invent credit generators that the staid USB wouldnât provide.Â, Local and state banks invented slick banking tools to steer money into the cotton economy.Â Mortgages, for example, were taken out on slaves and that money was used to buy land and pay other debts.Â Cotton buying countries in Europe invested in Americaâs cotton business, making cash available to planters to buy even more land and slaves.Â Planter debt was securitized by being pooled and divvied up into salable chunks.Â Slave buying, selling, and transporting became a business in its own right, replacing planters at the slave auctions with professional traders.Â. The Half Has Never Been Told counters the massive propaganda One of the reasons a book like The Half Has Never Been Told needs to be read is to help the reader counter the massive propaganda campaign, well under way by the mid 1800âs, which romanticized slavery and the society that profited from it. It often surprises people to learn that most 2 I know that Thou art nearer still Than any earthly throng; And sweeter is the thought of Thee Than any lovely song. Slavery might have died out if it remained tied to the failing tobacco production around the Chesapeake Bay.Â The combination of expanding slavery and expanding land proved to be a powerful force in uniting diverse interests and fueling the economies in both the North and South.Â Â Policy-makers found it much easier to discard their uneasiness over enslaving people in order to appease Southern planters, gain national control over Western territories, and generate exports that stimulated the economies of all regions. The most striking and controversial of those named in Baptist’s book was David Walker, who wrote An Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World.Â Â This book, which called for a violent slave uprising, activated the paranoia of enslavers across the South. This book joins Eric Foner’s and Henry Louis Gate’s books on Reconstruction, (click here and here), Isabel Wilkerson’s book on the Great Migration, Ibram Kendi’s history on racist ideas, and Howard Zinn’s rewrite of American history as the most compelling voices, which bear the sobering message that we must consider anew who we are and what we have done as a people. And far from being economically backward, slave owners pioneered advances in modern accounting and finance. From the enslaved Blackâs point of view, the prospect of being set free disappeared over the horizon. As the railroad opened new areas to cultivation and cotton output soared, slave owners saw themselves as a modern, successful part of the world capitalist economy. The domestic slave trade was highly organized and economically efficient, relying on such modern technologies as the steamboat, railroad and telegraph. had mortgages taken out on them. A final factor in the expansion of slavery was an idea which circulated among Whites held that too great a concentration of Blacks, captive or free was a threat and dispersing African descent people throughout the country would keep their numbers from becoming too numerous. This failure forced Blacks into the pseudo-slavery of the sharecropping system as a main form of employment and southern agricultural production. It was, in the 1850’s a megalith of economic power that produced 4 million cotton bales in 1860 and claimed constitutional protections that nearly put it beyond Washington’s ability to rein in. Slavery was a big deal. as a black lie. Edward Baptistâs Eighth Chapter, âBlood 1836-1844,â in The Half Has Never Been Told revolves around the twin financial crashes in 1837 and 1839.Â The early 1830âs saw great expansion in the cotton economy.Â By 1836 the United States government had dumped 400 million dollars, a total that was approximately one third of the US economy, into cotton enterprises.Â A quarter of a million slaves had been moved to the cotton Southwest and 48 million acres of public lands were sold.Â Cotton output rocketed from 732,000 bales in 1830 to 1.5 million in 1936.Â, During the 1830âs, Texas, originally belonging to Mexico, became a big factor in the United States economy.Â Andrew Jackson triggered the sequence of events that led to annexation and statehood for the Lone Star state.Â But before Texas was part of the United States it proved very useful to cotton interests as an independent territory or country.Â It was possible, for example for slaves to be delivered to Texas, which was exempt from the ban on the international slave trade.Â Â Southern planters poured into Texas in search of new lands and shelter from US laws.Â The push into Texas rankled Mexico, which under Santa Anna conducted his famous siege and slaughter at the Alamo.Â Santa Anna was later defeated at the battle of San Jacinto, effectively freeing Texas for US annexation and an unhindered expansion of slavery.Â Concurrent with the drama unfolding in Texas a full scale financial crash was developing in the United States.Â, Once Texas was declared independent of Mexico a financial bubble began to build.Â In 1836 Andrew Jackson issued his specie circular order that mandated public lands purchases be made in gold or silver.Â This brought to a virtual halt government land sales and triggered a financial liquidity crisis that coursed through the entire US economy, especially in the high-leveraged South.Â The financial crises which continued into the 1840âs had an impact on not only business, but also social mores in the South.Â Â Captive people were sold to raise cash for planters awash in debt.Â In many instances, Southern debtors simply declined to pay creditors, or worse, they slipped away to Texas.Â Â European financiers were furious with deadbeat southern borrowers, a factor that marred the Southâs reputation as a reliable business culture.Â, Edward Baptist here offers several insights into divergent masculine ideals, one for White men, a second for Blacks.Â White men devised schemes to evade debt or start afresh.Â Black men continued to be reshuffled and separated from family.Â Â Rebellion or retaliation was fundamentally out of reach for enslaved men, who needed to find dignified ways to endure their captivity.Â One way was to cultivate what Baptist calls âordinary virtues.âÂ These included self-forgeting care for those around and willingness to improvise with love relationships when families were repeatedly broken apart.Â Specifically, this meant rearing someone elseâs kids and âmarryingâ technically married partners.Â The act of loving and rearing children with available partners in slave conditions can be seen as profoundly hopeful endeavors.Â Â, The chapter ends with a brief survey of president John Tylerâs Secretary of State, John C. Calhounâs maneuvers to extend slavery and insure its unlimited survival.Â Most notably, Calhoun knew how to leverage popular American anti-British sentiment to secure a voting block which allowed not only acquisition of Texas but other territories in the Pacific Northwest.Â Â, By 1850, slavery had intertwined itself in the economic and political life of an expanding United States.Â The twin crashes of 1837 and 1839 left the Southern planter economy in disarray and revealed New England industries to be rapidly catching up with the previously prosperous South.Â, Britain was a quarter century ahead of the American Northeast in industrialization.Â Nevertheless, investment cash and the example of British innovation enabled Yankee factory owners to build and compete with textile mills across the Atlantic.Â Cheap slave-produced cotton fostered a virtuous cycle of investment capital, factory building, worker employment, consumer demand for goods, a secondary growth of workshops and businesses, and an influx of immigrants providing cheap factory labor enabled the Northern states to catch-up economically speaking with its agricultural southern states.Â Northerners also incorporated innovations in their factories, notably the use of steam power to drive machinery and a knack for tweaking British designed machinery for even greater output.Â, While Northern hubris drove many to denigrate the South, economically disabled in the late 1830âs and 40âs, cotton still drove about half of the US economy in 1836.Â Northern Statesâ population was also swelling from immigration bringing their representation in Congress to 2/3 of the House of Representatives.Â, Through the 1840âs disagreements began to split the country, a process that culminated with the Civil War.Â Abolitionists began to find their voices and appealed to the American conscience about the moral problems with buying, selling, and driving human beings.Â Proud Northerners, newly prosperous in their diversified industrial economy wrongly began to criticize their southern counterparts for what they saw as inefficient and unsustainable economic practices.Â This Yankee pride was probably hypocritical owing to the fact that the Northern economy was largely powered by the mass of cheaply produced exportable cotton.Â, The deepest gash in mid-century American politics was the division over cottonâs insatiable appetite for new territory.Â Huge expanses of land were being appropriated by the US with the help is its army.Â The entire southwest part of the country and even places like Hawaii seemed promising for slavery-based agriculture.Â But if slavery expanded into all of the yet-to-be admitted states and territories, the resulting country would be a giant labor camp.Â, In addition to insisting on unlimited expansion, slave interests inspired by John C. Calhoun seized upon an idea called âsubstantive due process.âÂ This was a robust idea of property rights, allegedly implied in the US Constitution, that insisted that property, read slaves, could not be seized by the government without due process which meant a jury trial.Â This idea was designed as a work-around the idea that the national government could designate new territory slave or free.Â Substantive due process protected the ârightâ of an enslaver to move with human property into any US territory and not have his property seized.Â, In the 1840âs both Northern and Southern partisans felt disempowered by the other.Â In many ways, the South had the upper hand and held the country hostage with the idea that âa slave West was the price of union.âÂ Â Northerners also felt disempowered by fugitive slave laws which required runaways to be considered property and returnable to their masters.Â Southerners were economically hobbled and nervous that their slave populations got too large that bloody rebellion was inevitable.Â Southern leaders, even in the late 1840âs began to long for a national life that permitted unlimited expansion of slavery unmolested by Washington.Â. society that profited from it. Recently, historians like Sven Beckert, Robin Blackburn and Walter Johnson have emphasized that cotton, the raw material of the early Industrial Revolution, was by far the most important commodity in 19th-century international trade and that capital accumulated through slave labor flowed into the coffers of Northern and British bankers, merchants and manufacturers. Each enslaved worker’s average productivity swelled by 400% to keep up with similar increases in Britain’s factory output. Â Britainâs spinning and weaving factories had an insatiable demand for that most basic raw material in the textile industry: cotton.Â. The third chapter looks at slaveryâs business aspects, focusing mostly on the boom years between 1815 and 1819 in New Orleans.Â The chapter revolves around three focuses: First, Mississippi Valley cottonâs role in the Industrial Revolution; second, the role that finance and banking played as an accelerant to slaveryâs growth; and finally, the degrading effect that re-auctioning captives had for individuals who had probably already been slaves for their entire lives. But to do so… A groundbreaking history demonstrating that America's economic supremacy was built on the backs of slaves Americans tend to cast slavery as a pre-modern institution -- the nation's original sin, perhaps, but isolated in time and divorced from America's later success. But rather than bailing out Northern and European bondholders, several states simply defaulted on their debts. Shortcomings aside, Baptist masterfully synthesizes a tragic history of slavery through its effects on the body and mind, a narrative that will leave a lasting impression of the horrid injustice that slavery was for a whole population of Baptist lays out on his last pages his main thesis, namely that slavery was a huge capitalist enterprise that lifted the United States into the industrial age. Picking cotton at greater and greater speeds was achieved by neuro-muscular development in hands and brains. In his expansive The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism, Cornell historian Edward E. Baptist fleshes out the incomplete story of slavery most of us received in school. Baptist rejects this explanation. of the Southern literary output in the 19th century was laced with These were the years when cotton boom slavery was gathering strength.Â Â This was a time when America was expanding into Western territories, which held the promise to bring more cheap land under cotton cultivation.Â. Assumption #3: Cotton Gin, 1793 By 1800, the Cotton Gin revolutionizes the way cotton is grown, consumed, and marketed. The Second Great Awakening gave birth to an Evangelical Protestantism that âgrew up in tandemâ with the second slavery.Â Â The 19th centuryâs emotional revivals appealed to Whites and Blacks alike who were caught up in the romanticism of the time and welcomed fiery preaching and bizarre manifestations of Holy Spirit indwelling.Â The revivalâs emotional atmosphere and ecstatic behavior had a deep West African pedigree and White preachers were happy to ride along on its power.Â Not surprisingly, there was enough biblical Christianity in the revivals to put the basic principles of human dignity, liberation, and justice in front of all participants.Â Â Â And sparked the launch in the middle of the 19th century several Â social movements that combated womenâs subjugation and alcohol abuse.Â Â Â Â This new moral vision in turn raised afresh the question of slaveryâs morality.Â Unfortunately, what began as spiritual common ground between the races, ended as a new American religious apartheid.Â Â Â The enslaving regions, anxious about any incentive for their enslaved populations to rebel, decided that the justice and kingdom elements of Christianity needed to be suppressed, at least for Black Christians.Â The slavery interests enacted a series of comically unjust laws forbidding Black religious gatherings, Â de-emphasizing the use of âbrotherâ and âsister,â which were social levelers in congregations, and distributing censored slave Bibles, which suppressed aspects of Christian faith that strayed too far from the individualistic sin-redemption duality.Â, The Half Has Never Been Toldâs seventh chapter, âSeed,â brings into focus two large systems that swirled out of the Southwestâs slave economy.Â First, pugnacious White masculinity emerged from the cotton frontier.Â White men of the South have long been sensitive to slights and put-downs.Â Â Even today, men in the former slave states exhibit heightened sensitivity to their social position and the respect accorded to them.Â Â Â Second, the Southwestâs slave-based business climate, propelled by the energy of free labor, free money, and free land blew westward with tornado-like energy, sucking in more and more people and resources.Â, Baptist begins the chapter with Robert Potter’s life story.Â A scrappy non-aristocratic North Carolinian, Potter made his way from this home state in the Southeast to New Orleans.Â Over his lifespan, he left a trail of exploits including arrests, honor-violence, election to political office, and founding of a “political university” designed to help non-elite men rise above dominance by the rich.Â, Potter illustrates the masculinity that the slave frontier fostered.Â Through his life, Potter struggled to steer between the planters and financiers above his social position and the enslaved Blacks beneath him.Â Potter needed to be vigilant to prevent being bullied by elites who seemingly might reduce him to the plight of the enslaved who were powerless to fend off being bullied and humiliated.Â Potterâs story makes clear why murder and violence in the South were sharply higher than anywhere else in the Western world.Â. Baptist brings to light the hopelessness of the captives themselves who had their own range of feelings and aspirations. Unlimited credit also fueled cotton’s expansion. campaign, well under way by the mid 1800âs, which romanticized slavery and the In the cotton kingdom, “white people inflicted torture far more often than in almost any human society that ever existed.” When Abraham Lincoln reminded Americans in his Second Inaugural Address of the 250 years of “blood drawn with the lash” that preceded the Civil War, he was making a similar point: Violence did not begin in the United States with the firing on Fort Sumter. tactics. So did huge expanses of free land, perfectly suited for cotton growth, which had been stolen from Native Americans or annexed from Spain, Britain and France. From the war’s end until about 1870 there was exhilarating progress for many of the 4 million who had been trapped in the vast southern labor camp. Accordingly, the Three-fifths Compromise, establishment of the Senate, The Half Has Never Been Told] covers a great deal of ground—not only economic enterprise but religion, ideas of masculinity and gender, and national and Southern politics.Baptist's work is a valuable addition to the growing literature on slavery and American development…Baptist has a knack for explaining complex financial matters in lucid prose. Slavers and others yearned to wrest Cuba from Spain’s control either by purchase or conquest. Edward E. Baptist situates “The Half Has Never Been Told” squarely within this context. The first chapter, titled, âFeetâ shows how slavery allowed the newly established United States solve several of its initial challenges.Â The Atlantic slave trade deposited the great majority of captive Africans at ports in the Caribbean and Brazil.Â Nevertheless, the smaller numbers of captives, totaling about 20% of the population, brought to what became the United States played a decisive role in enabling the country prosper economically and remain united politically.Â The simple fact that slaves were a moveable form of capital allowed their owners to transport them to Western territories where they could labor in new crops, notably cotton. In turn, the moral argument against the practice fizzled. Many planters fled with their slaves to Texas, until 1845 an independent republic, to avoid creditors. Heâs making the economic argument that American slavery was not only big, but that it was essentially capitalist. It is impossible for them to breed, due to being entirely different species. Occasionally, he deploys four-letter words that cannot be reproduced in these pages. The Half Has Never Been Told has offered the historical backdrop for the stirring declaration ‘black lives matter. A final thought kept running through my mind as I worked through Baptist’s In The Half Has Never Been Told (Basic Books, Sept., 20... Why is it so important to revisit the history of slavery in America, nearly 150 years after it ended? Wiley statesman like John C. Calhoun and Stephen Douglas hatched brilliant strategies that out-maneuvered Free State politicians. Caroline Lee Hentz’s 1854 novel, The Planter’s Northern Bride is typical of the effort to sanitize slavery.Â Â Hentz was a New England-born school head mistress writing just before the Civil War. In other words, it carried the same DNA that made the Industrial Revolution great and brought the Internet to life. I wasn't even told half of it. Any program to grant freed Blacks property on which they could be self-sustaining as farmers fizzled. Without any technological innovations in cotton picking, output per hand rose dramatically between 1800 and 1860. Jim Crow and the KKK plus a succession of disappointing political developments created a post war South that was a nightmare for its Black residents. For example, bluegrass, usually credited to As slaveryâs roots dug deeper into the countryâs soul, the prospect that enslaved people would be freed grew remote.Â Â Â One small chorus of voices calling for emancipation and justice were those of the abolitionists.Â Both Black and White, Christian and secular, these social progressives pleaded for an end to chattel slavery.Â Several abolitionists are named in Half Has Never Been Told. Baptist has a knack for explaining complex financial matters in lucid prose. “Enslaved African Americans built the modern United States, and indeed, the entire modern world, in ways both obvious and hidden.” The half has never been told. But these books were also one of This situation was exacerbated in the 1970s, when economic history began to migrate from history to economics departments, where it too often became an exercise in scouring the past for numerical data to plug into computerized models of the economy. The fame of Solomon had spread throughout the world, and the Queen of Sheba journeyed to Israel to see if what she had heard was really true. The decision whether the state would be slave or free was deferred to a later time to be decided by vote of the settlers. (Unfortunately, slavery in the Upper South, where cotton was not an economic staple, is barely discussed, even though as late as 1860 more slaves lived in Virginia than any other state.) Dubois’ famous quote: The slave went free;Â stood a briefÂ moment in the sun; then moved back again towardÂ slavery. The Half Has Never Been Told counters the massive propaganda campaign, well under way by the mid 1800’s, which romanticized slavery and the society that profited from it. Many elites in the South were far from jubilant and in years to come dedicated themselves to turning back any Black progress signaled by the Emancipation Proclamation or the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments. These musical forms include was able to flood world markets with cheap cotton–all planted and picked by He thought of the groaning serfs of Russia; the starving sons of Ireland; the squalid operatives of England, its dark, subterranean workshops, sunless abodes of want, misery, and sin, its toiling millions, doomed to drain their hearts’ best blood to add to the splendours and luxuries of royalty and rank; of the free hirelings of the North, who, as a class, travail in discontent and repining, anxious to throw off the yoke of servitude, sighing for an equality which exists only in name; and then he turned his thoughts homeward, to the enslaved children of Africa, and, taking them as a class, as a distinct race of beings, he came to the irresistible conclusion, that they were the happiest subservient race that were found on the face of the globe. …Without Lincoln and a bloody civil war, slavery would have engulfed North America and lasted for decades beyond the 1860âs. Edward E. Baptist’s The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism is a profoundly revisionist history of American slavery and its place in national history from 1783 to 1865. financial assets than as human beings. The final pages in Baptistâs third chapter reflect on the dehumanizing impact on captive people who were re-auctioned in New Orleans after being marched or shipped over water for new work on cotton plantations.Â Much like the suffering of their forebears who were ripped from their homelands and families in Africa, Americaâs internal slave trade and the ânew slaveryâ in cotton fields visited upon the grandchildren of the first slaves a fresh dose of dehumanization.Â Young men were especially desirable as field hands and sold at premium prices.Â Enslavers werenât interested in families and especially not in children.Â So prime field hands had usually been forcibly separated from wives and children before being force-marched to the cotton fields.Â Several other dimensions of cruelty emerge as people are displayed and bid for on New Orleansâs slave markets. Cotton production rose from 1.4 million pounds to 2 billion pounds plan was to divide the island into new! 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