slave economies


March 14th 1794: Eli Whitney patents the cotton gin

On this day in 1794, American inventor Eli Whitney recieved a patent for his cotton gin. Whitney, who was born in New England, moved to Georgia in 1792 to work as a tutor on a plantation. Whitney witnessed the system of Southern slavery firsthand, and noted that the growing of cotton - a staple crop on slave plantations - was becoming unprofitable. The one strain of cotton which grew inland had sticky green seeds which were time consuming to pick out of the fluffy cotton balls. Whitney sought to build a machine which would speed up this process, therefore ensuring the continued viability of the Southern cotton-based slave economy. The result of his efforts was the cotton gin, which could separate the seeds from the cotton at speed. Whitney patented his invention in 1794, and with his business partner installed them throughout the South and charged planters for their use. Planters, who resented paying the high price for using the gin, exploited a loophole in the patent law and made their own versions of the machine. The invention of the cotton gin made a significant impact upon the Southern economy and, indeed, the course of American history. After the invention, the yield of raw cotton doubled each decade after 1800, ensuring the continued profitability of slavery in the United States and leading to the growth of American slavery. Using machines of the Industrial Revolution to refine and spin cotton, grown by enslaved people who were not paid for their labour, the United States soon became the world’s leading supplier of cotton. Historians sometimes claim the invention of the cotton gin as a pivotal moment in the coming of the American Civil War. The invention ensured that the evil of slavery continued in the American South, setting the nation on the course to war over the ‘pecular institution’.

"France isn't a racist/is a socialist country!"
  • France: *only forgave haiti's slave debt /after/ their economy was destroyed by a natural disaster leaving them without the means to make payments*
  • France: *still holds former african colonies in debt*
  • France: *monopolizes resource industries in those colonies, literally preventing the people who live in those countries from owning and profiting from the land and resources in them*
  • France: *has one of the world's largest armies which it employs second only to the us in the middle east in defense of oil assets*
  • France: *controlled the colonial government in south vietnam and committed many of the war crimes of the vietnam war to defend it*
  • France: *holds heavy influence over multiple (often muslim-majority) countries in the middle-east, south asia, and northern africa but has the gall to make muslims unwelcome /in france/*

Liberal American blogger in the 1800s: How can you be an abolitionist if so many of the stuff you have was produced by slave labor? Did you know that without slaves the economy of half the states in our country would fall apart? Go move to a country without slave labor if you hate America so much.

I’m taking a Communication in Small Groups class right now and I’m already starting to resent it. The textbook explained “diversity in communication” in really shitty ways in terms of global cultures. It actually stated that places like the Philippines (and a bunch of other developing countries) were “high power-distance” cultures, which means that the people there valued “authoritarian leadership” whereas places like the US (and of course named a bunch of other white, western, developed countries) were “low power-distance” cultures and emphasized equality among people, then cited THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE as proof of that!!! LMAOOOO how fucking biased is that shit?? It’s not like the Declaration of Independence was written while this country was reliant on a slave economy or wiping out indigenous peoples, right??? This is a direct quote:

“In high power distance cultures, people believe each person has his or her rightful place, that leaders or others with power should have special privileges, and that the authority of those with power should not be questioned” 

*eye roll emojii* *laugh cry emojii* *cry emojii*

There’s just so much I could say about what’s wrong with these generalizations but I’m just gonna say it makes me so fucking angry, and so fucking tired, the ways in which students of color have to read such fucked-up generalizations about our cultures and hear it get contrasted to white cultures over and over again. And we have to keep going along with the biases and pretend like we don’t see them in order to just get the grade and get the degree. 

The cherry on top: In my response to the chapter I talked about how I found a lot of flaws in the section about power-distance and how it’s tied to development and colonization and how it’s discussion of the US was biased. A girl responded by saying something along the lines of “Kat’s discussion of power distance was interesting because she is used to high-power distance because she’s from the Philippines whereas I’m used to low power-distance because I’m from the US, I learned from her personal experience with her culture”

She didn’t even fucking read my post, she just skimmed and saw that I’d said I was “from the Philippines” and assumed shit about me based on the goddamn textbook. 

i am expected to be a citizen

in one of the most influential nations in the world and all my k-12 education history/social studies classes gave me was virginia/US/western history and civics. 

its so fucked up that we werent given a year of asian history to understand the tension in the korean peninsula. a year of african history to understand the slave-based economy of the united states. a year of middle eastern history to understand the roots of conflict in the cradle of the world. a year of american indian history to understand the subjugation and elimination of one of the most diverse ethnic groups in the history of the world.

no i got manifest destiny :/