Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Industrialization

Cotton is Not What Made the United States Rich

Lately, everyone is arguing that the United States got rich off of cotton. The New York Times recently put out a story arguing that American capitalism “begins on the plantation”. This completely misunderstands the relationship between slave and serf-based agriculture and industrial capitalism. A dominant agricultural industry is not the foundation for industrial success–it is an impediment. Let me show you why…

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How and Why Slavery Got Abolished

One of the things I find odd about the American discourse about slavery is how rarely Americans think about slavery as an institution which existed outside America. Not only did slavery exist in the ancient world in a pre-racialised way–in which many slaves were white, and many masters were people of colour–but it also existed in many other places during the period in which it existed in America. In many of these places, slavery was abolished not by violence but by ordinary politics. Yet this is rarely acknowledged or discussed, and it is increasingly common for Americans to frame our history largely in terms of the slavery question. We don’t often ask why slavery was more contentious in the United States than in other places. That’s what I want to think about with you today.

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Is Britain a Christian Nation?

In the United States, we’re used to hearing republican politicians claim that America is a “Christian nation”. Sarah Palin certainly said so:

 

What we’re not used to hearing is a British Prime Minister saying the same of the United Kingdom.  Current PM David Cameron has done just that.  Is his argument any good? Let’s look at it.

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