A Respectable Trade: Slavery


Length: 922 words (2.6 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Excellent
Open Document
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓

Continue reading...

Open Document

A Respectable Trade: Slavery

Many economic systems are revealed in A Respectable Trade: Slavery, Feudalism, Self-Employment, and Capitalism. England in 1788 was entering a period of economic transition. Viewing this finite period in A Respectable Trade allows us, as economists, to dissect the different market systems prevalent during that time.

Slavery is the market system most focused on in A Respectable Trade. Josiah's "respectable trade" involves trading sugar, cocoa, coffee and cotton in Africa for captured Negro men, women and children. He then ships these "slaves" to the Caribbean, where he sells them. He makes all of his money in the sale of these people. While Josiah and Sarah Cole have been involved in the slave trade for many years, in 1788 they have just begun to experience the immediate effects of slaves in their lives. Josiah has determined that he will make more money if he ships some slaves to England to train as house slaves. He has married Frances so that she will train and teach them while they live with the Cole's in England. Josiah, Sarah, and Frances are learning the techniques of the slave master. As the film progresses, Josiah becomes more crass and unfeeling toward the slaves, seeing them solely as property. When the slaves first arrive, he feels awkward and anxious about harming them. He knows that he should punish them and lord over them, but he is more comfortable allowing Bates to reprimand and beat the slaves. He allows his customer to rape the slave girl, but he is uncomfortable doing so and does not want to watch. However, at the end of the movie, he stands over Bates while he severely beats Matthew, watching closely with no remorse. Holding human beings as property by chaining them and locking them in the house, controlling their lives and fates by selling them and forcing them to work, Josiah Cole has become a cruel slave master. Frances has a chief role in the slave system. Marrying Josiah, she becomes a teacher and a manager of the slaves in her home. She teaches them English, manners, and proper ways to serve their masters so they may become a more successful sale for Josiah. She does not do this because she desires his success, but because she is held in marriage in a feudal contract.

Francis, a young woman without significant funds, without supportive family, and without an acceptable job, has few options in life.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"A Respectable Trade: Slavery." 123HelpMe.com. 24 Aug 2017
    <http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=31668>.
Title Length Color Rating  
A Respectable Trade: Slavery Essay - A Respectable Trade: Slavery Many economic systems are revealed in A Respectable Trade: Slavery, Feudalism, Self-Employment, and Capitalism. England in 1788 was entering a period of economic transition. Viewing this finite period in A Respectable Trade allows us, as economists, to dissect the different market systems prevalent during that time. Slavery is the market system most focused on in A Respectable Trade. Josiah's "respectable trade" involves trading sugar, cocoa, coffee and cotton in Africa for captured Negro men, women and children....   [tags: Market Systems England Essays] 922 words
(2.6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Slavery - A Respectable Trade? Essay - Slavery. - A “Respectable” Trade. A Respectable Trade is quite an ironic title for such an enterprise as slavery. In the 1700s Britain, and France, traded cheap manufactured goods for slaves. 1788 was the beginning of the abolition movement, yet slave trade was still booming. Frances Scott, the protagonist of the movie, was thrust into the horrors of slavery when she decided to marry Josiah Cole. This marriage was an economic contract benefiting Josiah much more than Francis. Francis was a widow, she lived with her uncle, but she didn’t have many choices being a single woman of those times....   [tags: Film Capitalism Britain Essays] 1297 words
(3.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Slavery's Coexistence with Other Economic Systems Essay - Slavery's Coexistence with Other Economic Systems Slavery as economic order based on the ownership and exploitation of human beings as property is widely covered in A Respectable Trade. The film, however, does not solely reveal slavery and its characteristics. It is a film rich in reference to other economical orders as well, because besides elaborately showing from different aspects the processes typical for the establishment of slavery, it touches on and gives examples on economic relationships that are rather characterized as capitalist, feudal or self-employment-related....   [tags: A Respectable Trade Capitalism Slavery Essays] 1420 words
(4.1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Who is Under Bondage? Essay - Who is Under Bondage. In analyzing two films, A Respectable Trade and The Mission, the oppression of the slaves and the indigenous people of the Guarani is strikingly blatant. The cruelty of the slave owners in A Respectable Trade and the Spanish and Portuguese who killed the Gauarani tribe in The Mission probably provokes disgust in the emotions of the viewer. Yet perhaps sympathy could also arise for a less obvious third party. Though the lives of the slaves were not their own, Francis Scott, their manager, was under bondage as well, in her own marriage....   [tags: The Mission A Respectable Trade Slavery Essays] 1205 words
(3.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Film, A Respectable Trade Essay - The Film, A Respectable Trade In the film, A Respectable Trade, the account of slavery is different than usually seen. With an English backdrop, the cruelty of the trade was concealed. The slaves were not laboring in fields, but were being trained in house maintenance. On the streets there are no slaves, they are rerouted to the United States where they are traded. Although the slaves in the film are generally absent from the physical atmosphere, they are vital to the economic growth of Bristol, England....   [tags: Slavery Movies] 731 words
(2.1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
A Respectable Trade Essay - A Respectable Trade Many economic systems exist in the movie A Respectable Trade. Capitalism is present, as the Cole’s hire their cook and pay her for her time. Self – Employment also exists as one witnesses through the doctor. The economic system in which the plot revolves around is Slavery. Mr. Cole tries to earn a fortune in the business of slave trade. His wife, Francis, is ordered to teach them to assimilate into European culture by teaching them English, dressing them in new cloths and re-naming them....   [tags: Slavery Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
1170 words
(3.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
A Respectable Trade and Amistad Essay - A Respectable Trade and Amistad An unfortunate part of history and labor involves European, American, and African slave traders engaging in the lucrative trade in humans. The movies, A Respectable Trade and Amistad show two slightly different slants to the same evil side of the concept of slavery. They point to an all too realistically gruesome picture of this despicable economic system. Although slavery contains some similarities to capitalism, it contains in it many differences as well, making it a distinct system from others that have existed....   [tags: Slavery Slaves History Papers]
:: 7 Works Cited
3962 words
(11.3 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Norma Rae and A Respectable Trade Essay - Norma Rae and A Respectable Trade In this essay I shall compare the two economic systems of capitalism and slavery within the context of films, Norma Rae and A Respectable Trade. In the film Norma Rae, workers in a textile mill attempt to form a union with the leadership of a disgruntled employee named Norma Rae. In a Respectable Trade, a woman of the aristocracy marries a slave trader named Josiah when she comes to realize that her time spent in her uncle's estate must come to an end due to the social aspirations of her aunt and that because she has no talent as a governess she has very few options left....   [tags: Films Movies] 1035 words
(3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Racism and Slavery Essay - Did race prejudice cause slavery. Or was it the other way round. Winthrop D. Jordan, in his monumental study of white American attitudes to black people from 1550 to 1812, argues that prejudice and slavery may well have been equally cause and effect, 'dynamically joining hands to hustle the Negro down the road to complete degradation. But we must go deeper than that, if we are to understand the rise of English racism as an ideology, the various roles it has played in the past, and the role it is playing today....   [tags: Slavery Essays] 1802 words
(5.1 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Slavery and Reparations Essay examples - “Slavery, colonialism and neo-colonialism have caused inestimable damage to billions of people throughout the world. They have also formed the basis for the accumulation of immense wealth in the hands of a small elite… The slave trade involved the brutal relocation of tens of millions of people in which families, communities and societies were destroyed and in which millions lost their lives in the most inhumane conditions. At the same time, slavery was a fundamental element of the strengthening of mercantile trade and the rapid accumulation of capital that formed the basis for the emergence of the capitalist system as we know it today....   [tags: Slavery Essays] 4382 words
(12.5 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]

Related Searches




She attempts to find work as a governess, searching through the papers to find a respectable teaching job. Instead she finds Josiah Cole, an offer of marriage, and a "respectable trade". Francis, her uncle, and Josiah approach the marriage as a financial transaction, bargaining over initial monetary exchange as well as an allowance for Francis. This is an acceptable deal for all of them; Francis is out of the house and supported by a husband and Josiah has a manager for his slaves. Most marriage in 1788 is not concerned with love, but instead with financial or status gains. Francis is sold into a feudal contract. Josiah controls all monetary resources. Although Francis has an "allowance", it can be suspended or withheld at any time by her "feudal lord". She is expected to contribute to the household, to increase Josiah's wealth by increasing the slaves worth. But no matter how much she does, Josiah is always going to have a monopoly over capital. Francis is Josiah's property under the bondage contract of marriage.

Self-Employment is the major economic system in England in 1788, although it is not the focus of A Respectable Trade. Doctor Hadley is self-employed. He began his business with his own initial endowment of resources. He makes his money through individual transactions, where he is responsible for his motivation and management. No one else is involved in his business, so he receives all of the gross profits of his work. Caesar is also self-employed. He and his partner run a printing business, printing flyers and books that interest them and aid them in their cause. Although two people run the business, it is classified as self-employment because the company was started by the initial endowment of resources of Caesar's partner, and Caesar bought co-ownership of the company after he had made enough money. They are the only two responsible for management and motivation, and they receive the surplus of their work. The most natural system of economics because it does not require forced or hired labor, self-employment is a major economic system in England in 1788.

Probably the least common economic system during this period is Capitalism. The only example of Capitalism that the movie shows is the Cole's cook. She is paid a wage, lives outside of the Cole's home, and can leave at any time. However, hiring oneself out for a wage was uncommon and unnatural during this period, and it was not prevalent in 1788. Most of the work was done by people who were forced to do it by their masters (as in slavery and feudalism) or who did it of their own accord (like the self-employed).
A Respectable Trade is mainly a love story that reveals the humane side of slavery. However, most of the economic systems operating in 1788 are present in this film, and it is interesting and informative to see how they all interconnect. Slavery, feudalism, self-employment, and capitalism are all present in varying degrees within English economics in 1788, and A Respectable Trade is a good mode by which to view them.


Return to 123HelpMe.com