“how is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?”–Samuel Johnson
From the Channel 4 television series by Niall Ferguson (one of this seminar’s “new imperialists”), which accompanies his book by the same title. This part deals with the history of British “plantation,” that is, the “planting” of Britons in colonies, beginning in Ireland, continuing in North America where “plantation” acquired its second meaning with which we are more familiar today: planting crops. Ferguson speaks of public-private commercial ventures in colonizing Ireland, the religious zealotry of New England colonizers, and the indenture of some British immigrants (“slavery on a fixed term contract”). From there Ferguson shifts attention to the Caribbean, and African slavery. He examines how Britain altered between compromise/cooptation (as in the case of hiring the services of the once rebellious Maroons in Jamaica), to coercion (against American colonists). “Liberty” is what Ferguson sees as the drive behind the American war of independence.