How was the manning of the slave ship a “hustle”?

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The Slave Ship was written by Marcus Rediker . In the book, he describes how slave ship captains and members of their crew worked with African leaders to procure slaves. Based on a lot of evidence from history, Rediker explains that each adult man was typically given a space that...

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The Slave Ship was written by Marcus Rediker. In the book, he describes how slave ship captains and members of their crew worked with African leaders to procure slaves. Based on a lot of evidence from history, Rediker explains that each adult man was typically given a space that was six feet long and fifteen inches wide. According to Rediker, adult women, boys, and girls were allocated even less space.

Rediker also explains that captains of slave ships claimed that the slaves needed to be chained to prevent rebellions and protect the crew from attacks. He argues that the cruel mistreatment of slaves was designed to transform the thinking of these humans into the mental state of obedient prisoners. He also argues that only then could the captains sell well-behaved slaves to plantation owners in the New World. The captains had an incentive to transport as many slaves as they could because they got a commission for each slave they sold in the New World.

Slave ship captains and their masters did not allow more space per slave in the lower decks because it would have reduced profits. There would have been the sale of fewer slaves. Also, using less cruel methods of control than chains, whips, and psychological terror would have required hiring more crew members, and the rich owners did not want to spend any more money than was absolutely necessary to transport the slaves. So the manning of the slave ship was all about hustling to try to make the most money possible.

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