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Capitalism and Slavery, Third Edition

Capitalism and Slavery, Third Edition

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  • Eric Williams
  • University of North Carolina Press
  • Paperback
  • 9781469663685
  • 9.2 X 7.7 X 0.6 inches
  • 0.8 pounds
  • History > Europe - Great Britain - General
  • English
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Book Description

Slavery helped finance the Industrial Revolution in England. Plantation owners, shipbuilders, and merchants connected with the slave trade accumulated vast fortunes that established banks and heavy industry in Europe and expanded the reach of capitalism worldwide. Eric Williams advanced these powerful ideas in Capitalism and Slavery, published in 1944. Years ahead of its time, his profound critique became the foundation for studies of imperialism and economic development. Binding an economic view of history with strong moral argument, Williams's study of the role of slavery in financing the Industrial Revolution refuted traditional ideas of economic and moral progress and firmly established the centrality of the African slave trade in European economic development. He also showed that mature industrial capitalism in turn helped destroy the slave system. Establishing the exploitation of commercial capitalism and its link to racial attitudes, Williams employed a historicist vision that set the tone for future studies.

William A. Darity Jr.'s new foreword highlights Williams's insights for a new generation of readers, and Colin Palmer's introduction assesses the lasting impact of Williams's groundbreaking work and analyzes the heated scholarly debates it generated when it first appeared.

Capitalism and Slavery, Third Edition

Author Bio

Eric Williams, in full Eric Eustace Williams, (born Sept. 25, 1911, Port of Spain, Trinidad—died March 29, 1981, St. Anne, near Port of Spain), first and longtime prime minister of independent Trinidad and Tobago (1962–81), who founded (1956) the People’s National Movement (PNM) and led his country to independence.

Williams was educated at Queen’s Royal College, Port of Spain, and at the University of Oxford, from which he received a B.A. in 1932 and a D.Phil. in 1938, with studies in history and political science. In 1939 he went to the United States and joined the faculty of social and political science at Howard University. While he was at Howard, Williams became associated with the Caribbean Commission that was established by the United States, Great Britain, France, and the Netherlands in an effort to coordinate the economic development of the Caribbean area. His aggressive, commanding role in the commission, however, tended to alienate the national powers, especially the United States, and in 1955–56 he organized the PNM party, which won the 1956 general elections. He became chief minister in the country’s first party government, and, with the achievement of internal self-government in 1959, he served as premier. The PNM won the December 1961 elections by a landslide. Williams became prime minister of the colony and then of the new nation upon its achieving independence in August 1962. He made the country a republic in 1976.

As prime minister, Williams practiced what was called “pragmatic socialism,” which stressed social services, improved education, and economic development through the cautious attraction of foreign investment capital. The policy was fruitful in making Trinidad and Tobago the wealthiest Commonwealth Caribbean nation. He was successively reelected and served as prime minister until his death.


Williams was the author of a number of books, among which were The Negro in the Caribbean (1942), Capitalism and Slavery (1944), History of the People of Trinidad and Tobago (1962), British Historians and the West Indies (1964), Inward Hunger: The Education of a Prime Minister (1969), and From Columbus to Castro: The History of the Caribbean, 1492–1969 (1970).

 

Source: Britannica.com

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