[Marxism] Why Wall Street Loves Dixie | Alternet

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Feb 28 06:16:07 MST 2014

Additional evidence--if any was needed--that Eric Williams got it right 
about capitalism and slavery and that Charles Post does not.


New York passed a gradual emancipation act in 1799, and slavery was 
officially abolished in the state in 1827— but only officially. As 
historian Eric Foner has noted, the port of New York continued as the 
financial center of the illegal transatlantic slave trade up until the 

New York controlled the South’s cotton trade, which is why most of the 
city’s merchants and bankers supported slavery during the 1830s, 40s and 
50s. Over and over, they used their influence to get concessions for the 
South in order to maintain their access to cotton: white gold. The 
South’s cotton production was a key source of profit and employment for 
the shipping, banking, insurance and textile industries.

As political scientist Thomas Ferguson has explained in his book Golden 
Rule, the Democratic Party of the 1830s was one in which elite 
merchants, New York City bankers, and planters like U.S. treasury 
secretary Robert Walker could find common ground on many items, 
including their support of free trade and slavery. (Originally from 
Pennsylvania, Walker moved to Mississippi to become a cotton, slave and 
land speculator and a politician who staunchly defended slavery on both 
economic and moral grounds.)


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