Sample History Article review: author perception of the impact of slavery on economy

In the article, “The economic basis of the slave trade”, Rice takes a look at slave trade practices and how they contributed to the economy. The various arguments furthered by Rice are not new slave trade-related discussions. As a matter of fact, the contributions that the slave trade made to towards the advancement of Europe and the Americas remains one of the controversial discussions relating to the practice. This piece evaluates the impact that the slave trade had on the economy from Rice’s perspective.

In her article, Rice identifies three factors that led to economic advancement of the Americas, that is, large tracts of unused land seized from native Americas, huge flow of investment from Europe, and most importantly, abundant cheap labor derived from slavery. Apparently narrowing down to the enormous role that slavery played in propping the economy, Rice notes that the expanding economies, largely relied on labor supply, in form of slavery, by the Portuguese and Spanish. Sectors such as sugar plantations and cotton production largely excelled due to slavery. In this regard, slaves not only contributed cheap labor to the economy, but also presented trade opportunities with the enslaved Africans viewed as commodities.

Indeed, I agree with Rice’s perspective that slave trade was the oil that drove the transatlantic trade at the time. Other than offering cheap labor that drove farming and other hard labor, businesses sold slaves to make profits and inject the profits generated into other sectors of the economy. Slavery can therefore be termed as having immensely impacted on the economy prosperity of Europe and Americas. As a matter of fact, it could be the sole explanation for the disparities in economy situation of the regions compared to Africa.

Works Cited

Rice, Alan. “The Economic Basis of the Slave Trade | Revealing Histories.” Revealing Histories: Remembering Slavery, 2019,