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Fri Jul 1, 2016, 04:13 PM

In America’s Long History of Slavery, New England Shares the Guilt

In America’s Long History of Slavery, New England Shares the Guilt


Slavery and Colonization in Early America
By Wendy Warren
Illustrated. 345 pp. Liveright Publishing. $29.95.

Here is a picture of Puritan New England far different from the “city upon a hill” that John Winthrop hoped he and the other first settlers would leave for posterity. It opens with the kidnapping of a Patuxet Indian. It closes with one of the wealthiest men in Massachusetts justifying the enslavement and sale of Africans. In between, Wendy Warren, an assistant professor of history at Prince­ton, scatters massacres, a rape, beheadings, brandings, whippings and numerous instances of forced exile. The behavior of New England settlers differed less from that of their contemporaries who established plantation colonies in the Chesapeake and the Caribbean than might be assumed.

Warren’s theme in “New England Bound” — the place of slavery in the making of colonial New England — echoes preoccupations of the moment in the writing of American history, as the pervasive influence of slavery on the nation, its institutions and its cultures attains wider recognition. In time, perhaps, this perspective will no longer surprise, and even now, few familiar with colonial American history will be astonished by Warren’s account. She builds on and generously acknowledges more than two generations of research into the social history of New England and the economic history of the Atlantic world. But not only has she mastered that scholarship, she has also brought it together in an original way, and deepened the story with fresh research.

The economic ties between early New England and the Caribbean deserve to be better known. Prominent merchant families like the Winthrops and the Hutchinsons made their fortunes by linking New England farmers and fishermen to West Indian markets, by sending food to the sugar colonies, where, in the 17th century, the real wealth lay. Enslaved Africans came to New England through these same merchant networks, as one of several imports from the English Caribbean. These forced migrants never became more than 10 percent of the population. Still, many New England households soon kept a captive African or two.

Slave ownership reached down the social scale and into New England’s hinterland. African captives helped replace the ­Native-American communities displaced by English colonists. As enslaved Africans came in, New England merchants sent Indian captives out, banishing them to Barbados or somewhere else beyond the seas.


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Reply In America’s Long History of Slavery, New England Shares the Guilt (Original post)
Judi Lynn Jul 2016 OP
SoLeftIAmRight Jul 2016 #1

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Jul 1, 2016, 04:37 PM

1. listened to her last week - Fresh Air? maybe


nice interview

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