The Half Has Never Been Told

13 Sep

A new book by Edward E. Baptist–The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism–is making some waves. James Bratt, historian at Calvin College, discusses some of this in his blog post at The Twelve.

The main point Bratt and apparently author Baptist draw regarding slavery is both economic and moral: if “market mechanisms and market solutions are always best,” as at least some have said and still say, then doesn’t that divinize profit and markets and thereby justify slavery–and other things?

(Apropos justifications of slavery, Bratt and Baptist bring to mind the recent film 12 Years a Slave. In the film–based on Solomon Northup’s account of his enslavement–the justification for slavery was religious as well as economic.)

Bratt concludes his post with these discomforting words:

God is not mocked—Lincoln said it in his epochal Second Inaugural, and Martin Luther King, Jr., along with Malcolm X and H. Rap Brown, preached it again in the 1960s. Ta-Nehisi Coates proclaimed it again in The Atlantic this past summer. God is not mocked, and we will not be healed and well, nor genuinely prosper as a nation, until we figure out some way to pay back the debt and the damage that Edward Baptist so powerfully explains in this book. It’s the other half that has to be told.

You can read Bratt’s entire post here: the12 – James Bratt – The Half Has Never Been Told.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Exploring the Past

Reading, Thinking, and Blogging about History

Enough Light

"In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don't." - Blaise Pascal

Lenten Lamentations

Preparing to Participate in God's Mosaic Kingdom

The Text Message

Discoveries from processing and reference archivists on the job

john pavlovitz

Stuff That Needs To Be Said

Wirelesshogan: Reflections from the Hogan

"History is the record of our loves in all their magnificent and ignoble forms." Eugene McCarraher

The Way of Improvement Leads Home

"History is the record of our loves in all their magnificent and ignoble forms." Eugene McCarraher

the way of improvement leads home

reflections at the intersection of American history, religion, politics, and academic life

The Pietist Schoolman

The website and blog of historian Chris Gehrz

Native News Online

American Indian News

Reformed Journal: The Twelve

Reformed. Done Daily.


by Alex Scarfe

Thoughtful Conversation about the American West

Northwest History

"History is the record of our loves in all their magnificent and ignoble forms." Eugene McCarraher

%d bloggers like this: