After reading Chapter 8 & 9 in ‘Black Cargoes’ I realized my misconception of the industrial revolution’s effect on slavery in the colonies. I would have thought that the invention of the ‘cotton gin’ would have reduced the amount of slaves needed to produce cotton but in actuality it increased the amount of cotton plantations as the demand for cotton increased. The increase in number of cotton plantations as colonists turned to cotton as the cash crop to produce created a stronger demand for slaves. As England sought to abolish slavery cotton in the southern states of North America drove up the demand for cheap labor. The invention of the ‘Power Loom’ in England also helped to drive demand of slaves.
As to the movement to abolish slavery it seems unlikely that people of conscience would come forth in any country where the economy is driven by the procurement of slaves. Men like William Wilberforce and Thomas Clarkson had the courage to champion the cause to sway public opinion. The voice of the masses seems to be the determining factor of swaying the minority in power that reaped the benefits of the slave trade.
‘Black Cargoes’ Daniel P. Mannin
Andrew Jackson said once, "One man with courage can make a majority."
‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’
‘When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.’ ’Edmund Burke