Edward Ayers on Slavery and the Early American Economy

Here’s Dr. Edward Ayers of the University of Richmond giving a Gilder-Lehrman lecture on slavery’s link to the growth of the American economy.  He does a really great job.



  1. Bob Nelson · · Reply

    Another very good presentation. It’s interesting that lectures such as this, “Confederate Reckoning” and others during the Sesquicentennial have openly and honestly addressed slavery in the 19th century, something that had almost no traction during the Centennial. Which is certainly one reason IMO for arguing that the Sesquicentennial was NOT a failure at all but a huge success (you’ll notice that I’ve changed my opinion on that). I liked his comments on economics, which parallel mine. The Southern heritage folks aren’t going to like this one either. Good grief, a Virginian and a University of Richmond president uttering such balderdash . . . and in Richmond no less. What is this world coming to??? LOL

  2. To Bob Nelson, The book “Bitterly Divided” emphasized the dominance of the slavery issue and it was written by a Southern professor at Valdosta State in Georgia, David Williams. Let’s not forget that Gary Gallagher, of the University of Virginia is also a firm believer that slavery was the reason for secession. It looks to me like those who have seriously studied the war, even those in the South, come to the same conclusion as to why slave states wanted to secede.

    1. Bob Nelson · · Reply

      I didn’t mean to paint all Southerners with the same brush. I have a dozen or so good friends in the South (we even chat on the phone) and most all of them would agree that slavery was the cause of secession. I have Williams’ book (haven’t read it yet) and love to listen to and read Gallagher. I was merely taking a little jibe at the Southern heritage folks. No offense meant and I hope none taken.

  3. Sorry Bob, my “read between the lines” glasses were smudged. It’s just that I never like to pass up an opportunity to show that even college professors in the South will agree with me on what caused the war.

    1. That’s because accuracy isn’t dependent on where one lives. 🙂

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