As a result, Africans were submissive to enslavement.
Although the Africans had accepted their fate calmly, they had no power to say no to enslavement given that they had primitive weapons that could not function against slave traders.
Part of a revisionist approach to studying slavery in the New World that emphasizes the idea that the transatlantic slave trade created distinct “ethnic” communities under New World slavery by linking exporting and importing regions. Hall tends to extrapolate and build upon evidence from the Afro-Louisiana history and apply the results to other regions in the New World.
7-12: Analyze the impact of the Haitian Revolution and the ending ofthe Atlantic slave trade. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
5-12: Identify the various ways in which African Americans resisted theconditions of their enslavement and analyze the consequences of violentuprisings. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
An Essay on the Slavery and Commerce of the Human Species, Particularly The African, Translated from a Latin Dissertation, which was honoured with First Prize in the University of Cambridge for the Year 1785, With Additions. MDCCLXXXV1 (1786) Printed by J. Phillips, George-Yard, Lombard-Street.Notes: 1st Edition copy of Clarkson's original essay which began his lifetime's work.
An Essay on the Slavery and Commerce of the Human Species, Particularly The African, Translated from a Latin Dissertation, which was honoured with First Prize in the University of Cambridge for the Year 1785, With Additions. MDCCLXXXV1 (1786) Printed by J. Phillips, George-Yard, Lombard-Street.
Indeed, Smith became far more influential than his teacher. As his own version of ideas came to seem like common sense in the following century, the pioneering Gournay Circle was largely forgotten. Their sense that the slave trade was a prime example of free trade in action disappeared. Yet the writings of Gournay and Morellet reveal that modern capitalism is entangled with slavery in multiple, profound ways. Slave labour supplied the cotton, sugar and other vital commodities. The profits from the sale of slaves created fortunes on both sides of the Atlantic. And, in a disturbing paradox, the founding fathers of saw the slave trade as a showcase of liberty.
It is a grotesque irony that this pioneering free-trader could equate ‘liberty’ and the slave trade, but Morellet was not finished yet. Defenders of the Company argued that South Asia was so different from Europe that private traders would be unable to carry out business there. Only a monopoly company, they claimed, could afford to hire experts familiar with the region’s languages, cultures and geography. They warned that private traders would be unable to hire such experts, and would arrive in South Asia unable even to communicate with their local counterparts. The example of the slave trade, Morellet countered, showed that such arguments were false. After 1720, private traders from French ports began to arrive in West Africa. They had no experience of local cultures, yet African merchants and political leaders soon brokered contracts.
The Gournay Circle lobbied the French monarchy for sweeping changes. One of its most important targets was the French East India Company, the successor to Law’s ambitious super-corporation. Deprived of its monopoly over the French Atlantic slave trade in 1720, this state monopoly company was now responsible for all French trade with the Indian Ocean region. No private traders were allowed to sail east past the Cape of Good Hope. The Company managed to make a reasonable profit most years. However, it neither satisfied French demand for South Asian commodities nor exported more than a handful of French goods to South Asia. It ran a massive trade deficit and, by the middle of the 18th century, was sinking into debt.
In spite of vast linguistic and cultural differences, French traders were able to purchase slaves in exchange for textiles, guns, tools and other items. Business would find a way to overcome any difference between diverse peoples. Indeed, the slave trade proved that Africans and Europeans were, at least in economic terms, exactly alike, hardly different after all: ‘the truth is that, on the subject of trade, people… act in the same way, because they are all guided by the same principle, that is to say, by interest’. Morellet reasoned that the slave trade proved Africans were equal to Europeans. Self-interest motivated both groups to sell or purchase enslaved people.
Gournay and his entourage revolutionised economic thinking by calling for the systematic elimination of international and domestic trade barriers such as state monopolies, guilds and prohibitions on foreign imports. Never before had a group of thinkers so directly challenged mercantilist ideas. When the French monarchy had deregulated the slave trade in the 1720s, it had acted out of desperation in regard to a particular crisis, not out of a conviction that mercantilism itself had failed. It was only three decades later that members of the Gournay Circle observed the dramatic growth of the slave trade and slave-based colonial economies, and drew a more general conclusion. They argued that the slave trade’s success proved that deregulation should be pursued not just as a last-ditch tactic, but as a deliberate and comprehensive strategy. The slave trade showed that the top-down regulations of mercantilism were obsolete.
While tensions brewed in Saint-Domingue, the enormity of the Atlantic slave trade slowly began to register on French consciences. In the 1780s, on the eve of the French Revolution, anti-slavery activists gathered in Paris to lobby for the abolition of the slave trade. But a generation before this, another group of activists known as the Gournay Circle were more concerned about the lessons that the growing slave trade had for the French economy. They were inspired by Gournay, the intellectual who coined the phrase (‘let do, let go’) to sum up his innovative views.
A collection of updated and revised essays, many of which provide cogent summaries of the major arguments by one of the most influential scholars writing on slavery in the second half of the 20th century. Although centered primarily on the repercussions of slavery for US history, Davis’s scholarship extends back to Classical societies and throughout the Atlantic.