Essay on Joseph C. Miller 's Way Of Death

1034 Words Sep 16th, 2016 5 Pages
Joseph C. Miller’s book, Way of Death, explores the complex economic relationships between the Atlantic and the Caribbean that sustained the slave trade. His writing projects a dismal view of the trade through economic lenses that sheds light on the experiences of slaves at the hands of buyers and sellers. The desire for profit, which fueled the slave trade eventually, placed priority on profits rather than the lives of slaves that were transported to sugar plantations in the Caribbean. The eyewitness reports of slavery complements Miller’s explanation for the high mortality rates of slaves on the Middle Passage by connecting the slave trader’s drive for profits to the slave keeping methods, especially the tight packing methods and the use of physical violence on slave ships, which were detrimental to the survival rate of enslaved Africans. The conditions within a slave ship’s cargo hold facilitated the spread of diseases among the Africans slaves due to the tight spacing and the lack of a hygienic environment. During the earlier days of African trafficking, slaves were often packed onto ships using the tight packing method, which crammed often more slaves than the ship could hold. However, over time, European traders change their packing methods. They no longer packed slaves in such extreme numbers but the number of human cargo on ships was still in staggering amounts. Thus, slaves were often kept in the hold of ships in great numbers and were not given adequate and most…

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