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Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad by Eric Foner (review)

Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad by Eric Foner (review) profitability and competitiveness of relatively labor-intensive industries like cotton textiles led to a geographic restructuring of manufacturing after 1920. In the U.S. South, the legacies of slavery and post–Civil War cotton monoculture created large pools of cheap labor, attracting textile manufac- turing from New England. Masses of impoverished workers without access to land fueled the growth of the textile industry in India, China, and Egypt. Like their counterparts in the global North, textile capitalists in the global South demanded state support in the forms of tariffs and tax exemptions. The refusal of European colonial powers to encourage competition with their own, declining textile producers led textile capitalists to support the anticolonial movements in the global South. The only flaw in Beckert’s brilliant work is his failure to specify what he means by “capitalism.” Implicitly, Beckert views capitalism as the profit- maximizing behavior of entrepreneurs. This leads to a problem with his analysis of war capitalism’s relationship to industrial capitalism. There is little doubt that Britain utilized markets and profits from colonial slav - ery to radically accelerate industrialization. However, other European powers were unable to make the breakthrough to industrial capitalism. France, which had the most profitable colony in http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of the Civil War Era University of North Carolina Press

Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad by Eric Foner (review)

The Journal of the Civil War Era , Volume 5 (4) – Nov 21, 2015

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright @ The University of North Carolina Press
ISSN
2159-9807

Abstract

profitability and competitiveness of relatively labor-intensive industries like cotton textiles led to a geographic restructuring of manufacturing after 1920. In the U.S. South, the legacies of slavery and post–Civil War cotton monoculture created large pools of cheap labor, attracting textile manufac- turing from New England. Masses of impoverished workers without access to land fueled the growth of the textile industry in India, China, and Egypt. Like their counterparts in the global North, textile capitalists in the global South demanded state support in the forms of tariffs and tax exemptions. The refusal of European colonial powers to encourage competition with their own, declining textile producers led textile capitalists to support the anticolonial movements in the global South. The only flaw in Beckert’s brilliant work is his failure to specify what he means by “capitalism.” Implicitly, Beckert views capitalism as the profit- maximizing behavior of entrepreneurs. This leads to a problem with his analysis of war capitalism’s relationship to industrial capitalism. There is little doubt that Britain utilized markets and profits from colonial slav - ery to radically accelerate industrialization. However, other European powers were unable to make the breakthrough to industrial capitalism. France, which had the most profitable colony in

Journal

The Journal of the Civil War EraUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Nov 21, 2015

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