Get Society and Culture in the Slave South (Re-Writing PDF

By J. Harris

ISBN-10: 0415070546

ISBN-13: 9780415070546

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However much growth the slave economy displayed in the abstract, every passing year weakened the political and military power of its ruling class relative to those it had to confront. The transportation system, too, took its toll, even before its weaknesses compromised the Confederate military effort. Of what use are the statistics that show the South with more miles of railroad than this or that country, if the structure of the system is left out of account? Those who set out to exploit colonies, and who in so many cases impoverished them, often built roads and railroads as the first order of business.

Gutman has filed the technically correct complaint that he nowhere speaks of the development of the black family as “autonomous,” and his associates could also say as much. But it is enough to point out that nowhere do he or any of those associates point to a single positive slaveholders’ influence on black culture generally or on the black family in particular. Conversely, at the Rochester conference [which met to discuss the findings reported in Time on the Cross], Fogel and Engerman faced repeated assault for insisting that blacks had merely absorbed white culture and had modeled their family life, sexual mores, and work ethic according to white norms.

What slavery could not do, despite its economies of scale and its financial advantages, was to lay the foundations for sustained growth and qualitative development. Nowhere did it advance science and technology, generate self-expanding home markets adequate to encourage industrial diversification, accumulate capital within its own sphere for industrial 33 SOCIETY AND CULTURE IN THE SLAVE SOUTH development, or encourage the kind of entrepreneurship without which modern industry would have been unthinkable.

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Society and Culture in the Slave South (Re-Writing Histories) by J. Harris

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