Slavery in the Americas: Separating Fact from Fiction
The history of transatlantic slavery is riddled with fables and errors. Erroneous claims have been propagated in the media because history is currently perceived as a political project that must justify present sensibilities. History has become so politicized that rigorous research is unable to disabuse activists of inaccuracies. Due to the rampant politicization of academia, noted scholars are usually cajoled into apologizing for defending historical standards.
After chiding fellow scholars for projecting modern sensibilities onto historical realities, historian James H. Sweet was shamed into penning an apology. Sweet was ruthlessly demeaned by his colleagues for noting the fallacy of using the narratives of identity politics to interpret historical events. Because academics are so willing to genuflect to unhinged mobs, propaganda is becoming history, and instead of digesting hard historical truths, many are fed fabrications.
One of the most pernicious myths is the argument that planters in the West Indies and the American South engaged in systematic and widespread slave breeding. After the abolition of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, planters in the West Indies pursued pronatal policies to increase reproduction. Some even offered women lighter work and cash incentives, but pronatal policies were more successful in the American South where plantations recorded a natural increase.
Planters were interested in multiplying the slave population because slaves reflected capital investment; however, evidence asserting that slaves were directly bred for sale or that stud farms were established to breed slaves is largely circumstantial. Although planters deliberately promoted intimate relations between slaves to ensure reproduction, we can’t comment on its frequency or conclusively state that it was done to manufacture slaves for export.
Kenneth Stampp, a pioneer researcher in this arena, admits that evidence corroborating the slave-breeding thesis is primarily circumstantial since planters hesitated to document such an atrocious act.
Article from Mises Wire