AP World History
6 Glasses Rum Essay
Caribbean slave trade and sugar trade were deeply intertwined. When by-products of Barbados’s most important crop, sugar, were fermented, they created a product that would further boost the need for both sugar and slaves (pg. 107). They created a product that would be known for its health benefits and its uses in slave control; a product that would be so highly desired that it was used as a reward.
Rum was the premier choice for all because it was locally made, and so it did not need to be imported. Lack of a “middleman” in the production process made rum affordable. (pg. 107) It was also a good alternative to other alcoholic beverages because wine and beer were liable to spoil if they were imported. Keeping business local further boosted slave trade, because with the increased demand for rum production, more labor was required in sugar production. (pg.107) Furthermore, finding the products needed to make rum was easy, because the main ingredients were the leftovers of sugar production, which were otherwise useless. Because no extra ingredients or production procedures were required, rum placed no economic burden on its producers.
Rum provided the people who drank it with a high alcohol content, and intoxicated the drinker easily. Rum’s high potency attracted drinkers in the Caribbean and across the Atlantic. Because rum was so powerful, it was used as a way of controlling slaves. (pg. 108) The ideology of the time was that if slaves were intoxicated by rum, they would be obedient and not think for themselves. Slaves were provided with enough rum to become addicted, so that it would be easier for slave owners to make slaves succumb to their demands. Under the influence of a high alcohol content, slaves would not resist the bad treatment they underwent or develop plans to escape. Rum was so highly desired that it was used to reward slaves for doing undesirable tasks such as catching rats. (pg....
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