Slavery and the Rise of the Nineteenth-Century American Economy

  title={Slavery and the Rise of the Nineteenth-Century American Economy},
  author={Gavin Wright},
  journal={Journal of Economic Perspectives},
  • Gavin Wright
  • Published 1 May 2022
  • History, Economics
  • Journal of Economic Perspectives
The essay considers the claim that slavery played a leading role in the acceleration of US economic growth in the nineteenth century. Although popular among pro-slavery apologists, the proposition fails under rigorous historical scrutiny. The slave South discouraged immigration, underinvested in transportation infrastructure, and failed to educate the majority of its population. It is not even clear that the region produced more cotton than it would have under a counterfactual alternative… 


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