The business of slavery and the rise of American capitalism, 1815–1860

Research output: Book/ReportBook

39 Scopus citations


Calvin Schermerhorn’s provocative study views the development of modern American capitalism through the window of the nineteenth-century interstate slave trade. This eye-opening history follows money and ships as well as enslaved human beings to demonstrate how slavery was a national business supported by far-flung monetary and credit systems reaching across the Atlantic Ocean. The author details the anatomy of slave supply chains and the chains of credit and commodities that intersected with them in virtually every corner of the pre–Civil War United States, and explores how an institution that destroyed lives and families contributed greatly to the growth of the expanding republic’s capitalist economy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherYale University Press
Number of pages336
ISBN (Electronic)9780300192001
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • General Business, Management and Accounting


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