An 1850 inventory of enslaved people from the Pleasant Hill Plantation in Mississippi.
“…recently, historians have pointed persuasively to the gnatty fields of Georgia and Alabama, to the cotton houses and slave auction blocks, as the birthplace of America’s low-road approach to capitalism.
“Slavery was undeniably a font of phenomenal wealth. By the eve of the Civil War, the Mississippi Valley was home to more millionaires per capita than anywhere else in the United States. Cotton grown and picked by enslaved workers was the nation’s most valuable export. The combined value of enslaved people exceeded that of all the railroads and factories in the nation. New Orleans boasted a denser concentration of banking capital than New York City. What made the cotton economy boom in the United States, and not in all the other far-flung parts of the world with climates and soil suitable to the crop, was our nation’s unflinching willingness to use violence on nonwhite people and to exert its will on seemingly endless supplies of land and labor. Given the choice between modernity and barbarism, prosperity and poverty, lawfulness and cruelty, democracy and totalitarianism, America chose all of the above…”
Desmond expanded his analysis of the impact of slavery on the structure of the US government in his chapter entitled “Capitalism” in the book, The 1619 Project, which was based on the NYT articles including the one cited above:
“…if Washington often feels broken, that’s because it was built that way. A 2011 study of 23 long-standing democracies identified the United States as the only country in the group that had four “veto points” empowered to block legislative action: the president, both houses of Congress, and the Supreme Court. Most other democracies in the study had just a single veto point. In those nations, parties govern, pass policies, and get voted in or out. Things happen at the federal level. But the United States government is characterized by political inaction — and that was by design. By creating political structures that weakened the federal government’s ability to regulate slavery, the framers hobbled Washington’s ability to pass legislation on a host of other matters.”
And so? …