Triangular Trade

Decent Essays

One of the lines from the movie 12 Years a Slave, goes as follows: “It is not the fault of the slaveholder that he is cruel, so much as it is the fault of the system under which he lives.” This, then, raises questions regarding the origin of the system, and the role of slavery in creating social conditions conducive to the development of capitalism. In the 17th and 18th centuries, England engaged in triangular trade, along with France and America. The human merchandise, that is, the slaves from Africa were an integral part of the production process, and could also be sold for a profit. The demand for slaves arose in order to satiate the mercantile needs in the 17th century. The slaves, when transported to plantations, produced an array of products …show more content…

This gave England the edge that led to the development of capitalism as an economic system. One of the key features that created the social conditions necessary for the success of capitalism was the monopoly that most planters (and slave-owners) had. This monopoly did not serve well for the new industrial class in England. However, the social and political factors made it difficult to do away with this monopoly and open up markets to import cheaper products from elsewhere. One of the only ways to do away with the monopoly would be to do away with slavery as a whole. Therefore, Williams argues that not all movements that sought to abolish slavery were motivated by humanistic factors, but also economic reasons. Many free-trade proponents campaigned against slavery, in order to open up markets, and allow capitalism to develop. In conclusion, the emergence and rapid development of slavery in England affected the economy at many points, including the ease of the production process, providing cheap labour, generating high profits, creating a market for certain products, and indirectly inducing people to campaign for free

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