A new nation born to freedom... for some: 1776, "Molasses to Rum to Slaves"

>> Sunday, July 5, 2009


Edward Rutledge, delegate from South Carolina, is unhappy with the passage in the Declaration of Independence concerning slavery. A very provoking and powerful scene, it refers to the Triangular Trade Route.

Triangular trade, or Triangle trade
, is a historical term indicating trade among three ports or regions. The trade evolved where a region had an export commodity that was required in the region from which its major imports came. Triangular trade thus provided a mechanism for rectifying trade imbalances.

The Transatlantic Triangular Trade
operated during the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries, carrying slaves, cash crops, and manufactured goods between West Africa, the Caribbean or American colonies and the European colonial powers, with the northern colonies of British North America, especially New England, sometimes taking over the role of Europe.

The use of African slaves was fundamental to growing colonial cash crops, which were exported to Europe. European goods, in turn, were used to purchase African slaves, which were then brought on the sea lane west from Africa to the Americas, the so called middle passage.

A classic example would be the trade of sugar (often in its liquid form, molasses) from the Caribbean to Europe or New England, where it was distilled into rum, some of which was then used to purchase new slaves in West Africa.

Information Source: Wikipedia

3 comments:

Derrick July 6, 2009 at 7:41 AM  

A most powerful and uncomfortable excerpt, Lynette! Necessary to depict everything, warts an' all. Excellent singing - I wonder if the actor was dubbed?

Merisi July 6, 2009 at 3:39 PM  

I highly recommend Caryl Phillips' book "The Atlantic Sound" - it touches on the slaves trade in those times, on the example of three cities:

Liverpool, developed on the back of the slave trade, which is now in denial about the true facts of its own history; Elmina, on the west coast of Ghana, site of the most important slave fort in Africa, and now a tourist destination for African-Americans; and Charleston in the American south, celebrated as the city where the Civil War began—not for being the city where fully one-third of African-Americans were landed and sold into bondage.

Lynette July 6, 2009 at 6:45 PM  

"I wonder if the actor was dubbed?"

The actor's name is John Cullum. And no, he wasn't dubbed. He is a Tony award winning actor and singer. He is 79 years old now and retired. And yes, he was fantastic in this role!

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