The transatlantic slave trade dominated in North America during the 17th and 18th centuries. But by 1808, a different slave trade came to dominate in the young United States, the domestic or internal slave trade.
In The Ledger and the Chain: How Domestic Slave Traders Shaped America (Basic Books, 2021), acclaimed historian Joshua D. Rothman recounts the shocking story of the domestic slave trade by tracing the lives and careers of Isaac Franklin, John Armfield, and Rice Ballard, who built the largest and most powerful slave-trading operation in American history.
Far from social outcasts, they were rich and widely respected businessmen, and their company sat at the center of capital flows connecting southern fields to northeastern banks. Bringing together entrepreneurial ambition and remorseless violence toward enslaved people, domestic slave traders produced an atrocity that forever transformed the nation.
In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Rothman, Professor of History at the University of Alabama, leads an exploration of the United States’ domestic slave trade and the lives of these three slave traders who helped to define the trade.
You can listen to the podcast here.
Ben Franklin’s World is an award-winning podcast. It’s for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our world. Each episode features an interview with a historian who shares their unique insights into our early American past. It is a production of the Omohundro Institute.
For a full list of this week’s New York Almanack podcasts announcements click HERE.