Social Issues / Capitalism And Slavery

Capitalism And Slavery

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Autor:  anton  13 March 2011
Tags:  Capitalism,  Slavery
Words: 1538   |   Pages: 7
Views: 260

Capitalism: End Of The Slave Trade System or Reevaluated Economic Stimulus.

Like many others demoralized cultures during the Atlantic Slave trade period, Africans fell victim to the sixteenth century discovery of Columbus’ so called “New World.” Europeans used the Atlantic Slave Trade to capitalize on Columbus’ so called “Discovery.” For more than three centuries, the regions of Africa were in a state of destabilization. More than thirty million Africans were taken out of Africa and put in the Americas and surrounding countries.

The horrors of the New World Atlantic Slave trade system cannot be expressed in figures along. The humanitarian and cultural losses are staggering. Throughout this period, more than a million and a half died during the passage to the New World. Large numbers died beforehand and nearly a tenth died within a year of landing. The slave population in the Americas reached a staggering 33,000 in 1700, nearly three million in 1800 and pecked at over six million in 1850. The soul purpose of these race-based migrations was forced labor. Slavery was a major institution in western antiquity. Slave trade opened up profitable markets for the investment of the cash surpluses accrued by merchants, as well as monarchs, aristocrats, guilds and clergy. This institution facilitated the rise of the capitalist classes, which ultimately became the ruling classes in the western countries. The transatlantic slave trade in Africa reached its height in the 200 years between 1650 and 1850. However, during the early 1800 hundreds, merchants, monarchs, rulings class whites, and influential politicians began to question slavery’s motivations, effectiveness, cost and profitability. All these factors were taken into consideration in an attempt to replace slavery and the plantation system with capitalism and paid labor. Through a historical, economical, and systematic prospective it can be inferred that the greatest divide in western civilization was capitalist paid labor vs. slave labor as a means towards the end of slavery.

Capitalism is a social system based on the principle of individual rights . During the raced-based forced labor period, slaves had no individual rights or principle. In fact, capitalism in some instances increased the degree of dehumanization and depersonalization hidden in the institution of slavery. While it had been normal in other forms of slavery for the slave to be legally defined as a thing, a piece of property, in America, capital was the motivating factor. Besides being a piece of property, the American slave was transformed into part of the plantation machine, a part of the ever-growing investment in the master' growing wealth. Slaves were strictly controlled to fill the needs of a highly organized productive system with which had sense attuned towards the driving forces of a competitive free enterprise. Slaves worked under terrible and dreadful conduction for extensive operational hours. Although the general consciences of slaves were less than human, the treatment of slaves varied depending on location and owner. Sometimes slaves were treated cruelly, at other times with kindness. They were more often used as a sign of affluence, a way of displaying one's wealth and of enjoying luxury, rather than as the means for the regular growth of wealth. American masters were probably no crueler and no more sadistic than others, and, in fact, the spread of humanitarianism in the modern world may have made the opposite true. Nevertheless, their capitalistic mentality firmly fixed their eyes on minimizing expenses and maximizing profits.

In order to minimize expenses and maximize profits, plantation owners had to exploit production of materials as well as numbers of personnel. The most effective way of doing so was to provide shelter for slaves but no monetary compensation. These gave save no incentive and motivation to work and produce product. As a result slaves would often rebel against plantation owners. Adam Smith a radical revolutionary on western philosophy apposed the institution of forced no monetary compensation labor. Adam Smith’s “Book Wealth Of nations” discusses his philosophy and motivation for salaried labor. Smith argued that the institution was just one more artificial restraint on individual self-interest. “THIS division of labor, from which so many advantages are derived, is not originally the effect of any human wisdom, which foresees and intends that general opulence to which it gives occasion. It is the necessary, though very slow and gradual consequence of a certain propensity in human nature, which has in view no such extensive utility; the propensity to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another.”

If a man had no hope of property, Smith thought, he would obviously work badly. He based his beliefs from experience of all ages and nations. “Work done by freemen comes cheaper in the end than that performed by slaves.” That sentence was immensely influential in the slave labor plantation system. Smith’s interpretation was taken exceptionally serious because unlike most who were opposes to slavery based on factors such as religion and moral belief, Smith never mention moral or religion regarding slavery as a factor in his book “Wealth of Nations”.

Slave owners and businessmen alike nationwide took interest in Adam Smith’s philosophy. Plantation owners began to reevaluate the effectiveness of their forced labor non-pay accommodation system. Many slave owners began to consider eliminating slavery as their means of capital and social status. However the opposition to Smith philosophy was just as strong. Many slave owners were content with the slave system and its profitability. Marxists an influential figure during the slave period denied the assumption of automatic superiority of wage labor opposed to the point of view of the productivity of labor. These conflicting perspectives began the campaign to abolish the slave trade.

Beginning in late 1700s and ending in 1807 the campaign to abolish the slave trade was the first, and one of the most successful, public campaigns in history. The Religious Society of Quakers set up a committee to seek the abolition of the slave trade in late 1700s, but the national campaign was not launched until after the Nonsectarian Committee met, for the first time in early 1800s. The campaign to abolish the slave trade succeeded in changing the attitudes of the British public as well as the Western ideology. Previous to the campaign, the slave trade was not only accepted, but also considered to be essential to maintain the power and prosperity of the British Empire. Not based on fairness, race or human treatment but on profitability, many bill and act wear passed in British states as well in western society.

In 1807, the Slave Trade Act was passed. The Slave Trade Bill, prohibited British vessels engaging in the slave trade, these act did not abolish slavery, but only prohibited British ships being involved in the slave trade. These bills and other alike were passed in an attempt to make slaves in the Americas more profitable and cost-effective.

The Western World became overwhelmingly divided as a result of the debates over slave labor and paid labor. The only logical way to institute paid labor would be to free the slave. If that were to happen free slaves would be able to choose if and when they worked as well as for whom. Theses factors could possibly lead to a monopoly in the slave system. The majority of plantation owners refused to change their method of income. As a result the slave system continued until 1865.

No issue has been more controversial and divisive in the first 100 years of the American republic than that of slavery. While slavery was not officially abolished until the ratification of the 13th , 14th , 15th Amendments to The Bill of Rights in 1865, our national leaders had fought over various aspects of slavery since the Constitutional Convention. In the first decades of the 19th century, no one realistically imagined the abolition of such a despicable institution in particular due to its profitability, but there was considerable pressure to abolish the Atlantic Slave Trade, or the continued importation of bonded Africans onto American soil. On March 2, 1807 Thomas Jefferson signed a bill abolishing the slave trade. The slave trade was not just a matter of national commercial policy, but a moral one as well.

Today, we take it for granted that issues of trade are often imbued with moral issues. We continually mix politics and economics, but in 1806 and 1807, legislators had to find a way to cope with the moral, as well as commercial and constitutional implications of abolishing the slave trade. The congressional debates surrounding the Bill demonstrate how commercial and legal concerns took precedence over moral, or humanitarian issues.

When considering the long japery of slavery, many factors have to be taken into consideration such as slavery’s socio-economic importance. However, ignoring the socio-economic significance of slavery could conclude that slave trade system lasted for the same reason that women from ancient times into the twentieth century were considered property. It suited man nature to posses and maintain power. Slavery benefited slave owners economically, and they built rationality about their suitability as masters. Many of the most humble and oppressed of men enjoyed having power over someone close to them.

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