Edward Baptist

This year Terry Johnston was once again kind enough to ask me to contribute to another roundup of the best books of the year for the magazine. The categories were slightly different this year, but I don’t think there are any surprises regarding my top picks. If you don’t like my picks you can peruse Read more

Three history professors from Liberty University in Virginia share their thoughts about the causes and legacies of our civil war. According to the department chair the Civil War is best understood as a “civilizational conflict” or “culture war.” Professor Jones acknowledges the centrality of slavery as a cause of the war and highlights its destruction,  Read more

Update: Check out Joshua Rothman’s take on this story. What better way to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the release of the movie, “Gone With the Wind” than with a Fall fashion spread inspired by life on an antebellum plantation. That’s exactly what some actress by the name of Blake Lively is doing. I guess Read more

The Exceptionalism of American Slavery

As I continue to make my way through Edward Baptist’s book, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism, I can’t help but think about its implications for the way we think about the idea of American Exceptionalism. It’s a timely issue given the recent debates about the revised AP Read more

I consider myself lucky to work in a History Department that reflects seriously on pedagogy and has command of their respective subject areas. Today I decided to share the opening of chapter 7 in Edward Baptists new book, which as you know I’ve been reading and commenting on over the past few weeks. We talked Read more

“Fuck This Mud”

Chapter 7 of Edward Baptist’s The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism begins with an incredibly violent and unusual description of a new season’s planting.  Here are a few excerpts from that opening section. The next day it rains hard in the morning, but when it stops the men Read more

It’s disheartening to hear people who continue to insist on distinctions between good and bad slaveowners. I’ve never understood such arguments. It’s the commodification of the individual itself along with the possibility and reality of sale of so many that renders the institution by definition as evil.  What takes place between master and slave on Read more

I think I am beginning to get a grip on what some people find troubling about Edward Baptist’s new book, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism. Before saying anything I should point out that my understanding of the historiography of slavery is limited. I’ve read a number of Read more

From Edward Baptist’s, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism. What enslavers used was a system of measurement and negative incentives. Actually, one should avoid such euphimisms. Enslavers used measurement to calibrate torture in order to force cotton pickers to figure out how to increase their own productivity and Read more

The following description of a slave auction in New Orleans comes from Edward Baptist’s new book, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism. The moment was here, the one that made trees fall, cotton bales strain against their ropes, filled the stores with goods, sailed paper across oceans and Read more