Black History Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Black History


History of Slavery and Capitalism

Capitalism Effects on Black Economics in the United States

Capitalism Effects on Black Economics in Cuba



History of Slavery and Capitalism

The ancient slave history besides the humanitarian aspect is considered a stigma on the so-called civilized society of the West. America's slave population was 33,000 in the 17th century, nearly three million in the 18th century. It later rose up to six million in mid of 18th century. During this journey towards passage to the New World period more than a million died.

The English colonialism is considered responsible for the promotion of the Atlantic trade and slave plantation system. The profits of slavery were mainly to serve the English economy. England's sole economic position helped the establishment of these colonies. The capitalist transformation of agriculture assisted in creating land less laborers that was available in the form of wage labor in England. The transformation of the English economy assisted in introducing a market for the new goods in these colonies. Earlier, this labor was based on wages and applied in the new plantations in Barbados and elsewhere. British emigrants were contracted to work as servants for plantation for a specific time after which they were set free to seek other jobs.

The contract servants confronted huge amounts of hardships on the farming jobs. The work was very hard, where as the out come in the shape of wages was very less. Moreover, the Escaped servants were made to serve double time for their farm owners. Repeating escape attempts could lead to the branding of a servant. The servant was considered the property of the contractor and was regarded on the basis of amount of tobacco or sugar that produced before the expiration of their contracts.

In those days, the landowners suffered the problems regarding product and farmers. For the increasing demand for the production of plantation exports, they needed more farmers. However, the servants on the contract basis could not guarantee and meet the needs of the system. Meanwhile the stories of the barbaric behavior on part of the landowners discouraged volunteers to get into contract system. Hence, the growing need for secure supplies of labor shifted their attention more inclined towards African slavery. Therefore, by the middle of seventeenth century sufficient growth of the slave farmers in the English Caribbean was seen.

In 1943, Eric Williams was the first to explain the rise of Capitalism and Slavery. He categorically explained the whole phase of enslavement that started form local Indian populations, then the use of white contract laborer till the phase of black slavery.

The origin of black slavery basically lay with the economic factor. The racial motive had nothing to do with the color of the skin, but it was primarily because the black labor was very cheap with respect to white labor.

Initially slavery had no relations with racism rather racism was the by-product of slavery, however with the passage of time slavery developed to produce racist social formations and ideologies.

The extremely strict ideology of the colonialism meant that the landowners always faced the possibility of revolt. Since the blacks and whites servants worked together the possibility of joint actions were imminent.

The authorities were frightened by such possibilities. More and more laws were passed to enforce cultural segregation. These steps facilitated racial solidarity among the white colonists. Therefore the low paid whites also started considering themselves as a part of the privileged white race. The racial color exempted them from slavery and they managed special treatments viz. A viz blacks. The landowners' were afraid of resistance and revolt from the black rebellion. This is how slavery was crucial and new racial differences emerged in the American society.

The term Slavery became a symbol of recognition for black Africans. Consequently, the blacks were identified as slaves or potential slaves. The most intense form of racial divisions was evident in the Caribbean and North American colonies. However, in Spain, Portugal and France there was a far bigger influx of black population. Blacks in these countries started demanding certain basic rights. In the English colonies such a glaring racial boundaries were not tolerated to emerge and thus the number of free blacks remained small.

Williams' work was the hypothesis that the profits of the 'triangular trade' between Europe, Africa and the New World had "made an enormous contribution to Britain's industrial development"

Capitalism and Slavery)

The discussion on the changeover to capitalism has seemed to focus on the internal economic and social changes that were essential for capitalist development while ignoring or minimizing the impact of external factors.

Using a variety of techniques, economic historians considered that the slave utilization in farming was a profitable investment compared to other investments. This was the main factor, which made the plantation system more popular with the farm owners.

Marx raised another issue, concerning slavery and the transition to capitalism. He pointed out several ways in which capitalism created conditions for its existence. Nonetheless, there remained problems.

The accumulation of capital pre-supposes surplus-value; surplus-value pre-supposes capitalistic production; capitalistic production pre-supposes the pre-existence of considerable masses of capital and of labor power. The whole movement, therefore, seems to turn in a vicious circle, out of which we can only get by supposing a primitive accumulation, an accumulation not the result of the capitalist mode of production, but its starting point."

Lawrence and Wishart)

The progress of capitalism required major changes out which most complex being the wage-labor. Once capitalism was firmly incorporated, it became a main source of reproduction for increasing investment.

The discovery of gold and silver in America, the elimination, enslavement and burial in mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black skins, signalized the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production. These idyllic proceedings are the chief moments of primitive accumulation."

Lawrence and Wishart) number of observers have revised the development rate of the British economy at the time of the industrial revolution. They considered that this would fortify the role of colonial trade in financing the industrialization.

Plantation profits helped economic development in a number of ways. By increasing the general prosperity and the economic conditions, they boosted the industrialization process. They also facilitated the finance problems of the new industrialists. The early industrial procedures involved an extended turnover time. In short a capitalist had to wait for a long time to obtain the profits from an investment. In such a state of affairs credit was vital. The profits of slavery helped to accelerate this process. Financial bills pertaining plantation products such as sugar or tobacco started to circulate as a source of money. In the absence of enough institutional sources of earnings, plantation finances were an enormous assistance to cover this gap.

By painting crime and poverty black, the ruling class effectively manipulated the color divisions of the country to their advantage. In this way, they have sought to establish a base for their fascist agenda by uniting primarily whites of all classes on the basis of skin color. Although white workers are the majority of the jobless and property less, the isolation of the minorities established the basis to attack the rights of all workers. There is no more proof of this than the so-called 'welfare reform'. Passed after more than fifteen years of anti-black propaganda, the true intention of changing 'welfare, as we know it' is now clear: the destruction of the wages floor and the creation of a pool of labor competitive on the global market.

Global fascism: response to global class)

The discrimination of blacks economics in human society was seen in different parts of world in some forms or the other where as the capitalist discrimination touched its peaks in the west in general and the U.S. In particular.

Capitalism Effects on Black Economics in the United States

While taking into account the position of blacks in the United States one must keep in mind that for more then a hundred year's slavery has degraded blacks and it has risen in the form of racial and economic discrimination that to some extent subsist even today. History concludes that blacks and the whites are socially divided since the time the America was discovered. Despite the idea that it existed because of white racism and their lust of being superior then the blacks. However, it existed to get blacks to work at the lowest wage levels so that white farm owners could save large profits. This motive behind slavery and doctrine of minimizing wages and maximizing abuses was capitalism. However, President Lincoln during the Civil War theoretically abolished this discrimination, however it regenerated in to new forms. The so-called free slaves found them standing unexpectedly in a capitalist economy full of opportunity, but were deprived of financial rewards. Eventually…

Cite This Term Paper:

"Black History" (2002, May 20) Retrieved August 19, 2017, from

"Black History" 20 May 2002. Web.19 August. 2017. <>

"Black History", 20 May 2002, Accessed.19 August. 2017,