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Chapter 2, “‘Unfit Subjects of Trade’: Demographic Logics and Colonial Encounters,” explores how the development of the transatlantic slave trade as an instrument of colonial settlement and extraction relied upon the production of new ideologies of both race and economy. The emergence of early modern English economic thought was shaped by English anxieties and concerns directed toward international trade. English chroniclers and theorists rallied arguments about English economic strength in direct relationship to Spain and the possibilities for wealth and resources from the Americas. As the arguments that propelled England’s investment in the slave trade cohered, they reflected the processes by which mercantilist concerns about wealth and trade were shaping and being shaped by the potential market in racialized slave labor. Those arguments reveal the ways in which gender and race were shaping discursive accounts of trade and colonialism in ways that exceed descriptions of the slave trade.

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