Article Critique Sample: Enslavement and Industrialization

Published: 2019-08-15
Article Critique Sample: Enslavement and Industrialization
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  History Economics Slavery
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1488 words
13 min read

In the article, the author considers the role that slavery played in the industrial revolution for Britain and the after-effects that that contribution has had till current Britain economic status. The role of millions of people working tirelessly on American, Cuban and Brazilian farms were the cause of the rising economic power of Britain between the 17th and 19th centuries during the industrial revolution. The article Enslavement and Industrialization finds out the relationship between the slave trade in these centuries and Britains famous rise to the heights of economic power during this time in a deeper and more statistical method. The three races, on the other hand, discusses the effect that the Haitian revolution had on the whole slave trade phenomenon, as well as the effect on the British economy based in the Americas. A look into the causes and effects of the revolution give the bearing of the paper. The author in this case notices that the effects of this revolution have not been properly documented or clearly analyzed. Their aim from the onset then, is to ensure that this situation can be corrected.

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Blackburns thesis is based on the fact that while people may not readily agree to the existence of inherited guilt arising from the slave trade, they most certainly enjoy the inherited favors that came about as a result of this phenomenon. Dubois, on the other hand, argues that there was a much bigger significance to the Haitian revolution that would meet the eye. The beginning of depth to human rights, for example, found its beginnings in this revolution.

Blackburn divides his work using some tangible subheadings that correlate to the issue of slavery that he is talking about. With subheadings such as consumers and salves, where he identifies the main markets for slavers, their source and the role they player; the Atlantic boom, which explains the growth of the transatlantic trade; and slave-related trade, the author discusses a wide range of flowing topics within the area of concentration. The author goes on into the math of the whole process by giving approximated figures of the earnings from the trade. The subheadings thus lead the reader through a logical line of thought. Dubois also makes use of subheadings in the course of dividing the sections of his paper in order to achieve stated objectives of his paper. In the course of explaining the different precipitating factors to the rise of the revolution and the meaning of words such as royalism to the colonial peoples as opposed to their masters, the author uses these subheadings to bring their points home.

Blackburn, for example, asserts that the contribution of the slave trade practice was significant in building the British economy at the time of industrial revolution. As such, he provides the statistics of the trade under one of his subheadings, outlining details of transactions for British merchants in the course of this trade. Furthermore, he gives examples of schools, financial institutions among other things that were established as a result of proceeds from the trade. All this is done in the furtherance of his thesis. Dubois also makes this choice of expressing himself in like manner. He comes up with the views of insurrection from both the colonialists and slaves point of view. To the colonial master, this was a despised thing to look upon. He shows the different views of the different parties concerning issues such as royalism and the fight where slaves wanted to become men with a purpose, various powers positioned themselves to take advantage of this and accrue benefit to themselves. This was seen by the Spanish as they encouraged insurgent advances for national interest in the course of their relations with the French king.

To support his thesis, Blackburn obtains both primary and secondary evidence to settle his case. In the case of primary information, he has receipts and invoices that state the kind of transactions that were ongoing in the course of slave trade. Furthermore, secondary information is used especially when backing up the information about the operation of the baking systems at that time. Dubois lists mainly secondary sources as his source of information. As he well says at the beginning of the paper, much of the evidence available for the reasoning behind the revolution was not recorded, or was lost. Much of his thesis then stems from a collection of secondary sources related to the subject. If we consider the evidences that the authors used, we can see that Blackburn gives real figures and statistics of the proceedings of different trades. For example, he refers to the profits of cotton sales as of a year was equivalent to 3.8 million pounds sterling. Dubois on the other hand, makes use of other forms of evidence. At one time, he considers the input of David Geggus on slave-Spanish relations during the Franco-Spanish war. He speaks of the alliance that was formed between the Spanish and royalist slaves as one that was amicable and based on mutual benefit. Blackburns statistics were quite useful to understanding the depth of the financial contribution of the slave trade to the British economy at that time. With funds in that capacity, it was truly possible that Britain would become what it was and even long after the end of the slave trade period. Dubois equally gives convincing anecdotes in the course of his presentation of the topic.

When analyzing Blackburns evidence, however, something struck me as odd. I considered the assertion that he made in the course of his paper concerning the amount of land that would have been needed to produce crops that were enough for their market in Britain. Millions of acres of land that were available in the Americas at the time were not enough occupied as to produce the quantities that we would like to believe were produced. This had me raising a brow. However, Dubois seems to present his evidence in such a way that there is little to consider as abnormal.

Blackburns conclusion seems to echo the point that there was a significant contribution that slave trade and slave labor made to the British economy at the time. Considering the numbers of people that were traded off in the transatlantic trade and the amount of raw material that was obtained from these sources, there was a great part of this splendor enjoyed by the British government that was obtained from African slave hands. Dubois, on other hand, makes notice of the state of affairs in St Dominique and the different precipitating factors that led to the revolution, namely the slaves need to be treated equally with the rest of the population. Their engagement with the Spanish in conquest was a consideration of this measure.

Lessons Learned from Blackburn's Paper

Reflecting upon Blackburns paper, I now understand the full implication of the slave trade industry for the industrial revolution in Britain. There is now a clearer understanding that slaves were the main commodity that was traded in the enterprise. The proceeds of this enterprise were used for both personal and public interests. Roads were built, schools were stocked and banks were established thanks to this trade. On the other hand, Dubois gives a different view of whites and slaves in St Dominique a hotspot for the advocacy of equal human rights in these times. It would thus appear that there were times when there was an agitation from slaves to become full participators of society.

Some of the common perspectives between Blackburn and Dubois are that they both have common views concerning the contribution of slaves to the shifting fortunes of slave owners. Furthermore, they underscore the adamant need for the continued oppression of the slaves, possibly for the continued personal and economic gains that they would have by maintaining the business. Blackburn was, however, more specific in his presentation of information. I find that his style of presenting long information in brief to be great for a presentation. He presents the idea of a profitable colonial master while Dubois presents the conflicting rights of slaves and slave owners, and the classifications that subsequently arose. This makes the articles different because of their subject matter.

I found that Blackburns essay was more convincing because of its readability. With the presentation of facts in simple and short paragraphs giving the necessary statistics, his article gave the reader an impeccable view of the work and the full view of the conclusion. Dubois work was good and very deeply explained, but it was also very long. The story given within the explanation could cause the reader to lose the point that he was making. As such, these have made me become a better writer in that my information presentation within a paper has been challenged. Furthermore, the good presentation of personal work has been challenged as this is key to ensuring that the reader can be kept engaged during the reading.

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