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General History/Rum in the American Revolution & the Slave Trade


Hello, I'm writing a term paper on distilled drinks, especially rum, and how they affected both the American Revolution as well as the slave trade. I know that distilled drinks such as Rum and Brandy were used to control not only the slaves, but the slave traders as well. I also believe that the slave trade and the American Revolution are connected, and one of the connections between the two is rum. After all, since sugar and molasses were predominant in the slave trade, enforcing the Molasses act would leave thousands of american sailors without jobs. In addition, Americans really liked their rum.

Now, onto my actual question. I was wondering if you believed that the slave trade would have ever been able to reach the height that it did if rum had never become a part of it. And how do you believe this would have, in turn, affected the American Revolution? If rum was no longer crucial in the slave trade and therefore Molasses was no longer as important in the world and the colonies, one would tend to come to the conclusion that the Molasses act would not have spurred the American Revolution in the way that it did. In your opinion, do you believe I am correct in assuming this?

Thanks for your help, it's greatly appreciated.

Rum was an integral part of the triangular trade of slaves, sugar and rum.  Without this method of dealing with trade imbalances, it is likely that the slave trade would not have been as lucrative.  I doubt that the absence of molasses tax would have altered the course of the colonists' quest for independence.  The Molasses Act was passed to appease British plantation owners in the West Indies.  Later taxes (Stamp Act, Tea Tax, Townshend Acts) that the British passed as attempts to get the colonies to help cover the costs incurred in the French and Indian War were much more instrumental in inciting the American colonists.  The rallying cry behind the revolution was "no taxation without representation."

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