The Slave Trade in Africa: Eric William's thesis "Capitalism and Slavery" a study of slavery's role in the English Economy. The changing status of the African State

Essay by Unknown450University, Bachelor'sA+, January 2004

download word file, 3 pages 3.9

Downloaded 183 times

The Slave Trade in Africa

Eric Williams thesis entitled "Capitalism and slavery"

is not a study on the nature of the slave trade, but rather

a study of the role of slavery in the English economy. In

his thesis Williams proposes the idea that capitalism is a

result of the Atlantic slave trade.

Williams defines capitalism as when someone can use

their resources to make a profit without that person

actually being present. The Atlantic Slave Trade was then

an example of capitalism. English investors gave funds to

stock companies, such as the Dutch East Indian Company, who

wound use those funds to purchase ships and trading goods.

The stock companies would then hire a crew and send the

ships to Africa where they would trade their goods for

African Slaves. The ships would then transport the slaves

to the Americas where they would sell their human cargo and

purchase American goods.

The ships could then return to

England and sell their American goods for capital, then

splitting the profit amongst the investors.

In his thesis Williams asserts that these stock

companies were the first examples of capitalism and that the

capitalists systems which are present in the modern world

are direct results of the Atlantic Slave Trade. It appears

that Williams is correct in his thesis. While elements of

capitalism, such as buying and selling of goods, were

present prior to the slave trade, this was the first point

in history when private investors combined their capital in

the form of a company whose sole purpose was to increase

that capital. At no point did the stock companies

manufacture any new product instead these companies served

only to buy and sell commodities in such a way as to

increase the capital of their investors.

Ancient Africa was characterized...