Capitalism and Slavery Fifty Years Later: Eric Eustace Williams -- A Reassessment of the Man and His Work

Capitalism and Slavery Fifty Years Later: Eric Eustace Williams -- A Reassessment of the Man and His Work

Capitalism and Slavery Fifty Years Later: Eric Eustace Williams -- A Reassessment of the Man and His Work

Capitalism and Slavery Fifty Years Later: Eric Eustace Williams -- A Reassessment of the Man and His Work

Synopsis

"Eric Williams' seminal work Capitalism and Slavery has received continued reassessment since publication in 1944. It must be considered one of the premier historical works of our time. Its major themes - the origins of slavery; the profitability of the slave trade and slavery; the decline of the British West Indies; and the economic motivation for emancipation - are still hotly debated. This book continues this process, however, it also explores less developed themes as well as new developments in Caribbean historiography. It also seeks to shed some insight on the issues that influenced Eric Williams and informed the purpose with which he wrote history. This reassessment celebrates a very important landmark in the book's history, fifty years since its original publication." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Tribute to Dr. Eric Williams on the occasion of the international conference on “Eric Williams and the Post-Colonial Caribbean”

The right honourable michael manley, O.M., O.C.C.

It can be said of few men or women that their location in history is defined by their leading role in the attainment of independence by a nation. Fewer still are those who laid the foundations of a political system which gives institutional shape and dynamic form to a nation's political process. Dr. Eric Williams earned his place in the history of Trinidad and Tobago as architect of its independence and of its democratic political system. It is a place that he shares in Caribbean terms with giants like Norman Manley of Jamaica and Grantley Adams of Barbados.

Normally this should be enough for one man in one lifetime. But Eric Williams made a contribution to the Caribbean that is perhaps more profound than these seminal roles in the process of nation-building. For centuries the history of the Caribbean was recorded by the scholars at the great imperial centres in London, Paris and Madrid. the perspective was European, drawing no connection between the slave trade which commenced in Africa, Caribbean primary exports like sugar and the Industrial Revolution which helped to spawn modern capitalism. Historians with a sense of ethics decried the inhumanity and the brutality of slavery while often seeming less indignant about the profits which slavery helped to underwrite throughout the Caribbean and mainland plantation systems. Nowhere could one find deeper explanations establishing a connection between “man's inhumanity to man” in Africa and the Caribbean and the emergence of the larger system of institutionalized exploitation.

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