Empire of Cotton
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|Author||: Sven Beckert|
The epic story of the rise and fall of the empire of cotton, its centrality to the world economy, and its making and remaking of global capitalism. Cotton is so ubiquitous as to be almost invisible, yet understanding its history is key to understanding the origins of modern capitalism. Sven Beckert’s rich, fascinating book tells the story of how, in a remarkably brief period, European entrepreneurs and powerful statesmen recast the world’s most significant manufacturing industry, combining imperial expansion and slave labor with new machines and wage workers to change the world. Here is the story of how, beginning well before the advent of machine production in the 1780s, these men captured ancient trades and skills in Asia, and combined them with the expropriation of lands in the Americas and the enslavement of African workers to crucially reshape the disparate realms of cotton that had existed for millennia, and how industrial capitalism gave birth to an empire, and how this force transformed the world. The empire of cotton was, from the beginning, a fulcrum of constant global struggle between slaves and planters, merchants and statesmen, workers and factory owners. Beckert makes clear how these forces ushered in the world of modern capitalism, including the vast wealth and disturbing inequalities that are with us today. The result is a book as unsettling as it is enlightening: a book that brilliantly weaves together the story of cotton with how the present global world came to exist.
|Author||: Sven Beckert|
|Editor||: Penguin UK|
WINNER OF THE 2015 BANCROFT PRIZE WINNER OF THE 2015 PHILIP TAFT PRIZE FINALIST FOR THE 2015 PULITZER PRIZE FOR HISTORY SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2015 CUNDHILL PRIZE IN HISTORICAL LITERATURE Economist BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2015 'A masterpiece of the historian's craft' The Nation For about 900 years, from 1000 to 1900, cotton was the world's most important manufacturing industry. It remains a vast business - if all the cotton bales produced in 2013 had been stacked on top of each other they would have made a somewhat unstable tower 40,000 miles high. Sven Beckert's superb new book is a history of the overwhelming role played by cotton in dictating the shape of our world. It is both a gripping narrative and a brilliant case history of how the world works.
|Author||: Sven Beckert|
For better or for worse, capitalism is the philosophy that has come to define the United States. In this intriguing essay, Beckert takes a look at the historiography of American capitalism, which has been, according to Beckert, ironically neglected by historians until recently.
|Author||: Walter Johnson|
|Editor||: Harvard University Press|
River of Dark Dreams places the Cotton Kingdom at the center of worldwide webs of exchange and exploitation that extended across oceans and drove an insatiable hunger for new lands. This bold reaccounting dramatically alters our understanding of American slavery and its role in U.S. expansionism, global capitalism, and the upcoming Civil War.
|Author||: Andrew J. Torget|
|Editor||: UNC Press Books|
By the late 1810s, a global revolution in cotton had remade the U.S.-Mexico border, bringing wealth and waves of Americans to the Gulf Coast while also devastating the lives and villages of Mexicans in Texas. In response, Mexico threw open its northern territories to American farmers in hopes that cotton could bring prosperity to the region. Thousands of Anglo-Americans poured into Texas, but their insistence that slavery accompany them sparked pitched battles across Mexico. An extraordinary alliance of Anglos and Mexicans in Texas came together to defend slavery against abolitionists in the Mexican government, beginning a series of fights that culminated in the Texas Revolution. In the aftermath, Anglo-Americans rebuilt the Texas borderlands into the most unlikely creation: the first fully committed slaveholders' republic in North America. Seeds of Empire tells the remarkable story of how the cotton revolution of the early nineteenth century transformed northeastern Mexico into the western edge of the United States, and how the rise and spectacular collapse of the Republic of Texas as a nation built on cotton and slavery proved to be a blueprint for the Confederacy of the 1860s.
|Author||: Giorgio Riello|
|Editor||: Cambridge University Press|
Today's world textile and garment trade is valued at a staggering $425 billion. We are told that under the pressure of increasing globalisation, it is India and China that are the new world manufacturing powerhouses. However, this is not a new phenomenon: until the industrial revolution, Asia manufactured great quantities of colourful printed cottons that were sold to places as far afield as Japan, West Africa and Europe. Cotton explores this earlier globalised economy and its transformation after 1750 as cotton led the way in the industrialisation of Europe. By the early nineteenth century, India, China and the Ottoman Empire switched from world producers to buyers of European cotton textiles, a position that they retained for over two hundred years. This is a fascinating and insightful story which ranges from Asian and European technologies and African slavery to cotton plantations in the Americas and consumer desires across the globe.
|Author||: Sven Beckert,Seth Rockman|
|Editor||: University of Pennsylvania Press|
During the nineteenth century, the United States entered the ranks of the world's most advanced and dynamic economies. At the same time, the nation sustained an expansive and brutal system of human bondage. This was no mere coincidence. Slavery's Capitalism argues for slavery's centrality to the emergence of American capitalism in the decades between the Revolution and the Civil War. According to editors Sven Beckert and Seth Rockman, the issue is not whether slavery itself was or was not capitalist but, rather, the impossibility of understanding the nation's spectacular pattern of economic development without situating slavery front and center. American capitalism—renowned for its celebration of market competition, private property, and the self-made man—has its origins in an American slavery predicated on the abhorrent notion that human beings could be legally owned and compelled to work under force of violence. Drawing on the expertise of sixteen scholars who are at the forefront of rewriting the history of American economic development, Slavery's Capitalism identifies slavery as the primary force driving key innovations in entrepreneurship, finance, accounting, management, and political economy that are too often attributed to the so-called free market. Approaching the study of slavery as the originating catalyst for the Industrial Revolution and modern capitalism casts new light on American credit markets, practices of offshore investment, and understandings of human capital. Rather than seeing slavery as outside the institutional structures of capitalism, the essayists recover slavery's importance to the American economic past and prompt enduring questions about the relationship of market freedom to human freedom. Contributors: Edward E. Baptist, Sven Beckert, Daina Ramey Berry, Kathryn Boodry, Alfred L. Brophy, Stephen Chambers, Eric Kimball, John Majewski, Bonnie Martin, Seth Rockman, Daniel B. Rood, Caitlin Rosenthal, Joshua D. Rothman, Calvin Schermerhorn, Andrew Shankman, Craig Steven Wilder.
|Author||: Priya Satia|
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF 2018 BY THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE AND SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE By a prize-winning young historian, an authoritative work that reframes the Industrial Revolution, the expansion of British empire, and emergence of industrial capitalism by presenting them as inextricable from the gun trade "A fascinating and important glimpse into how violence fueled the industrial revolution, Priya Satia's book stuns with deep scholarship and sparkling prose."--Siddhartha Mukherjee, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies We have long understood the Industrial Revolution as a triumphant story of innovation and technology. Empire of Guns, a rich and ambitious new book by award-winning historian Priya Satia, upends this conventional wisdom by placing war and Britain's prosperous gun trade at the heart of the Industrial Revolution and the state's imperial expansion. Satia brings to life this bustling industrial society with the story of a scandal: Samuel Galton of Birmingham, one of Britain's most prominent gunmakers, has been condemned by his fellow Quakers, who argue that his profession violates the society's pacifist principles. In his fervent self-defense, Galton argues that the state's heavy reliance on industry for all of its war needs means that every member of the British industrial economy is implicated in Britain's near-constant state of war. Empire of Guns uses the story of Galton and the gun trade, from Birmingham to the outermost edges of the British empire, to illuminate the nation's emergence as a global superpower, the roots of the state's role in economic development, and the origins of our era's debates about gun control and the "military-industrial complex" -- that thorny partnership of government, the economy, and the military. Through Satia's eyes, we acquire a radically new understanding of this critical historical moment and all that followed from it. Sweeping in its scope and entirely original in its approach, Empire of Guns is a masterful new work of history -- a rigorous historical argument with a human story at its heart.
|Author||: Beverly Gordon|
|Editor||: National Geographic Books|
“Leads readers from the Stone Age to the twenty-first century, while weaving its story from strands of craft, history and anthropology, and science and culture. . . . An outstanding achievement.” —Library Journal There are few aspects of our lives—physical, emotional, spiritual—in which thread and fabrics do not play a notable part. Beverly Gordon reminds us memorably and movingly of the powerful significance of fabric throughout human history. Her expertise is enriched by her own hands-on experience: spinning silk from silkworm cocoons, weaving cloth, and creating natural dyes. In addition, she has studied thousands of textiles in a curatorial context; her familiarity includes the processing and handling of textiles as well as the making of them. The author bridges past and present, from the Stone Age—when humans first learned to make cordage and thread—to twenty-first-century “smart fabrics,” which can regulate body temperature or measure the wearer’s pulse. Her discussion integrates craft, art, science, history, and anthropology, and she draws on examples from around the globe. A dazzling array of illustrations includes paintings and photographs of historic and contemporary textiles plus a broad collection of textiles being created, worn, and lived with today.
|Author||: Edward E Baptist|
|Editor||: Basic Books|
Winner of the 2015 Avery O. Craven Prize from the Organization of American Historians Winner of the 2015 Sidney Hillman Prize A groundbreaking history demonstrating that America's economic supremacy was built on the backs of slaves Americans tend to cast slavery as a pre-modern institution -- the nation's original sin, perhaps, but isolated in time and divorced from America's later success. But to do so robs the millions who suffered in bondage of their full legacy. As historian Edward E. Baptist reveals in The Half Has Never Been Told, the expansion of slavery in the first eight decades after American independence drove the evolution and modernization of the United States. In the span of a single lifetime, the South grew from a narrow coastal strip of worn-out tobacco plantations to a continental cotton empire, and the United States grew into a modern, industrial, and capitalist economy. Told through intimate slave narratives, plantation records, newspapers, and the words of politicians, entrepreneurs, and escaped slaves, The Half Has Never Been Told offers a radical new interpretation of American history.
|Author||: Danielle C. Skeehan|
|Editor||: Johns Hopkins University Press|
Bringing together methods and materials traditionally belonging to literary studies, book history, and material culture studies, The Fabric of Empire provides a new model for thinking about the different media, languages, literacies, and textualities in the early Atlantic world.
|Author||: Sylvia Jenkins Cook|
|Editor||: University of Michigan Press|
The rise of both the empire of cotton and the empire of fashion in the nineteenth century brought new opportunities for sartorial self-expression to millions of ordinary people who could now afford to dress in style and assert their physical presence. Millions of laborers toiling in cotton fields and producing cotton cloth in industrial mills faced a brutal reality of exploitation, servitude, and regimentation—yet they also had a profound desire to express their selfhood. Another transformative force of this era—the rise of literary publication and the radical extension of literacy to the working class—opened an avenue for them to do so. Cloth and clothing provide potent tropes not only for physical but also for intellectual forms of self-expression. Drawing on sources ranging from fugitive slave narratives, newspapers, manifestos, and mill workers’ magazines to fiction, poetry, and autobiographies, Clothed in Meaning examines the significant part played by mill workers and formerly enslaved people, many of whom still worked picking cotton, in this revolution of literary self-expression. They created a new literature from their palpable daily intimacy with cotton, cloth, and clothing, as well as from their encounters with grimly innovative modes of work. In the materials of their labor they discovered vivid tropes for formulating their ideas and an exotic and expert language for articulating them. The harsh conditions of their work helped foster in their writing a trenchant irony toward the demeaning reduction of human beings to “hands” whose minds were unworthy of interest. Ultimately, Clothed in Meaning provides an essential examination of the intimate connections between oppression and luxury as recorded in the many different voices of nineteenth-century labor.
|Author||: Matthew Karp|
|Editor||: Harvard University Press|
Most leaders of the U.S. expansion in the years before the Civil War were southern slaveholders. As Matthew Karp shows, they were nationalists, not separatists. When Lincoln’s election broke their grip on foreign policy, these elites formed their own Confederacy not merely to preserve their property but to shape the future of the Atlantic world.
|Author||: Sven Beckert,Christine Desan|
|Editor||: Columbia University Press|
The United States has long epitomized capitalism. From its enterprising shopkeepers, wildcat banks, violent slave plantations, huge industrial working class, and raucous commodities trade to its world-spanning multinationals, its massive factories, and the centripetal power of New York in the world of finance, America has come to symbolize capitalism for two centuries and more. But an understanding of the history of American capitalism is as elusive as it is urgent. What does it mean to make capitalism a subject of historical inquiry? What is its potential across multiple disciplines, alongside different methodologies, and in a range of geographic and chronological settings? And how does a focus on capitalism change our understanding of American history? American Capitalism presents a sampling of cutting-edge research from prominent scholars. These broad-minded and rigorous essays venture new angles on finance, debt, and credit; women’s rights; slavery and political economy; the racialization of capitalism; labor beyond industrial wage workers; and the production of knowledge, including the idea of the economy, among other topics. Together, the essays suggest emerging themes in the field: a fascination with capitalism as it is made by political authority, how it is claimed and contested by participants, how it spreads across the globe, and how it can be reconceptualized without being universalized. A major statement for a wide-open field, this book demonstrates the breadth and scope of the work that the history of capitalism can provoke.
|Author||: Augustine Sedgewick|
A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice “Extremely wide-ranging and well researched . . . In a tradition of protest literature rooted more in William Blake than in Marx.” —Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker The epic story of how coffee connected and divided the modern world Coffee is an indispensable part of daily life for billions of people around the world. But few coffee drinkers know this story. It centers on the volcanic highlands of El Salvador, where James Hill, born in the slums of Manchester, England, founded one of the world’s great coffee dynasties at the turn of the twentieth century. Adapting the innovations of the Industrial Revolution to plantation agriculture, Hill helped turn El Salvador into perhaps the most intensive monoculture in modern history—a place of extraordinary productivity, inequality, and violence. In the process, both El Salvador and the United States earned the nickname “Coffeeland,” but for starkly different reasons, and with consequences that reach into the present. Provoking a reconsideration of what it means to be connected to faraway people and places, Coffeeland tells the hidden and surprising story of one of the most valuable commodities in the history of global capitalism.
|Author||: Sven Beckert|
|Editor||: Cambridge University Press|
This book, first published in 2001, is a comprehensive history of the most powerful group in the nineteenth-century United States: New York City's economic elite. This small and diverse group of Americans accumulated unprecedented economic, social, and political power, and decisively put their mark on the age. Professor Beckert explores how capital-owning New Yorkers overcame their distinct antebellum identities to forge dense social networks, create powerful social institutions, and articulate an increasingly coherent view of the world and their place within it. Actively engaging in a rapidly changing economic, social, and political environment, these merchants, industrialists, bankers, and professionals metamorphosed into a social class. In the process, these upper-class New Yorkers put their stamp on the major political conflicts of the day - ranging from the Civil War to municipal elections. Employing the methods of social history, The Monied Metropolis explores the big issues of nineteenth-century social change.
|Author||: Abigail Leslie Swingen|
|Editor||: Yale University Press|
This title explores the connections between the origins of the English empire and unfree labour by exploring how England's imperial designs influenced contemporary politics and debates about labour, population, political economy, and overseas trade. It pays particular attention to how and why slavery and England's participation in the transatlantic slave trade came to be widely accepted as central to the national and imperial interest by contributing to the idea that colonies with slaves were essential for the functioning of the empire.
|Author||: Corey Ross|
|Editor||: Oxford University Press|
This is a wide-ranging environmental history of late-19th and 20th century European imperialism, relating the expansion of modern empire, global trade, and mass consumption to the momentous ecological shifts they entailed and providing a historical background to the social, political, and environmental issues of the twenty-first century