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The Business of Slavery and the Rise of American Capitalism, 1815-1860$
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Calvin Schermerhorn

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780300192001

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300192001.001.0001

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Soul Drivers, Market Makers

Soul Drivers, Market Makers

(p.10) 1 Soul Drivers, Market Makers
The Business of Slavery and the Rise of American Capitalism, 1815-1860

Calvin Schermerhorn

Yale University Press

This chapter details the economic geography of the United States domestic slave market of the 1810s. It examines small slave traders’ business strategies as part of a knowledge economy, focusing on the firm of Peyton Mason and Company. That partnership drove coffles or caravans of enslaved Virginians to Mississippi and Alabama in 1818 through the Appalachian Mountains, river valleys, and through Indian nations. In a time in which money was regional and geographic obstacles to the interstate trade abounded, Peyton Mason and Company economized through overland transport and self-financing. Enslaved people viewed that business strategy and their commoditization differently, as the theft and disappearance of loved ones. But that interstate commerce joined the interests of Virginians and Mississippians, creating in the process an American South.

Keywords:   Slave trade, Economic geography, Knowledge economy, Money, Commoditization, Strategy, American South, Virginia slavery

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