Edward E. Baptist

Edward E. Baptist (born 1970) is an American academic and writer. Baptist is a Professor of History at Cornell University, located in Ithaca, New York, where he specializes in the history of the 19th-century United States, particularly the South. Thematically, he has been interested in the history of capitalism and has also been interested in digital humanities methodologies. He is the author of numerous books.

Early life and education

Baptist was born in 1970 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but he grew up in Durham, North Carolina.[1] He graduated from Georgetown University and in 1997 earned his doctorate from University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.[2]


Baptist is a Professor of History at Cornell University. His areas of interest are 19th-century United States and especially the history of enslavement in America.[2] Baptist is the author of many articles and books including The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism and the award-winning Creating an Old South.[1]

In September 2014, Baptist's work came to prominence when The Economist magazine gave his book The Half Has Never Been Told an unfavorable review for characterizing slave owners negatively. The review generated widespread outrage against the publication and resulted in a rare withdrawal of the article and an apology from the magazine.[3] Baptist penned a response in Politico magazine in which he states:

Had the Economist actually engaged the book's arguments, the reviewer would have had to confront the scary fact that the unrestrained domination of market forces can sometimes amplify existing forms of oppression into something more horrific. No wonder the Economist abandoned its long-standing intellectual commitments in favor of sloppy old paternalism on Sept. 4, because if it hadn't, Mr./Ms. Anonymous might have had to admit that market fundamentalism doesn't always provide the best solution for every economic or social problem.[4]

The Half Has Never Been Told received mixed reviews from academics.[5] A number of historians, including Eric Foner of Columbia University and Daina Ramey Berry of the University of Texas at Austin, have praised the book.[6][7][8][9] A number of economic historians have been critical of The Half Has Never Been Told.[10][11][12][13][5] Olmstead and Rhode, for example, wrote that The Half "mishandle[s] historical evidence and mischaracterize[s] important events."[14][15]

In 2017, Baptist was awarded a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship for a new project on the history of the policing of African Americans from Jamestown to Ferguson.

Personal life

Baptist lives in Ithaca, New York.[1]


  • (2002). Creating an Old South: Middle Florida's Plantation Frontier before the Civil War. University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 978-0807853535.[16]
  • (2006). New Studies in the History of American Slavery. University of Georgia Press. ISBN 978-0820326948[17]
  • (2014). American Capitalism: A Reader. Louis Hyman and Edward E. Baptist. Simon & Schuster.[18]
  • (2014). The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism. Basic Books. ISBN 978-0465002962[19]

See also


  1. . The Guardian.
  2. . Cornell University.
  3. . The Economist.
  4. Edward Baptist (September 7, 2014). What the Economist Doesn't Get About Slavery—And My Book. Politico. Retrieved May 23, 2015.
  5. Parry, Marc (December 8, 2016). "Shackles and Dollars". The Chronicle of Higher Education. ISSN 0009-5982. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  6. "Kaja on Baptist, 'The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism' | H-Law | H-Net". networks.h-net.org. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  7. Ramey, Berry, Daina (December 1, 2016). "The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism". Journal of American History. 103 (3): 718–719. doi:10.1093/jahist/jaw341. ISSN 0021-8723.
  8. Foner, Eric (October 3, 2014). "'The Half Has Never Been Told,' by Edward E. Baptist". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  9. "Forged in Slavery | s-usih.org". s-usih.org. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  10. Burnard, Trevor (January 2, 2015). "'The Righteous Will Shine Like the Sun': Writing an Evocative History of Antebellum American Slavery". Slavery & Abolition. 36 (1): 180–185. doi:10.1080/0144039X.2015.1009239. ISSN 0144-039X.
  11. Clegg, John J. (2015). "Capitalism and Slavery". Critical Historical Studies. 2 (2): 281–304. doi:10.1086/683036. JSTOR 10.1086/683036.
  12. Murray, John E.; Olmstead, Alan L.; Logan, Trevon D.; Pritchett, Jonathan B.; Rousseau, Peter L. (September 2015). "The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism. By Baptist Edward E. . New York: Basic Books, 2014. Pp. xxvii, 498. $35.00, cloth". The Journal of Economic History. 75 (3): 919–931. doi:10.1017/S0022050715000996. ISSN 0022-0507.
  13. Engerman, Stanley L. (June 2017). "Review of The Business of Slavery and the Rise of American Capitalism, 1815–1860 by Calvin Schermerhorn and The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism by Edward E. Baptist". Journal of Economic Literature. 55 (2): 637–643. doi:10.1257/jel.20151334. ISSN 0022-0515.
  14. Alan L. Olmstead; Paul W. Rhode (September 12, 2016). "Cotton, Slavery, and the New History of Capitalism". Center for Law and Economic Studies. Columbia University. Retrieved June 23, 2019. mishandle historical evidence and mischaracterize important events in ways that affect their major interpretations on the nature of slavery
  15. Alan L.Olmstead; Paul W.Rhodeb (January 2018). "Cotton, slavery, and the new history of capitalism". Explorations in Economic History. 67: 1–17. doi:10.1016/j.eeh.2017.12.002.
  16. .
  17. .
  18. .
  19. .
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