Chapter 11_ Cotton, Slavery and the Old South.docx - The...

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The Cotton Economy The Rise of King Cotton -Much of the upper, or old, SOuth relied on cultivation of tobacco, but the price of that was unstable, and it exhausted land rapidly, so farmers shifted to other crops, notably wheat, while cultivation of tobacco moved west -The southern regions of the coastal South continued to rely on rice cultivation, which is more stable and lucrative than tobacco, but it demanded a lot of irrigation and had a long growing season that restricted its cultivation to one small area; sugar growers had a profitable market in the Gulf coast, but it was labor intensive and had a long growing time; long staple cotton could only grow in the coastal regions of the Southeast -Decline of tobacco economy forced the region to shift attention to other nonagricultural pursuits, had it not been for the growth of a new product: short staple cotton, which was hardier and coarser that can grow in a variety of climates and soils, but its seeds were more difficult to remove from fiber, but the invention of the cotton gin had solved the problem -Demand for cotton grew with the growth of textile industry in Britain and New England, so ambitious men and women rapidly moved into previously uncultivated lands -There were fluctuations in cotton prices due to overproduction, but the economy for cotton continued to grow -Cotton production dominated the more recently settled areas, or the lower South, which became known as the Cotton Kingdom; most who settled new areas for cotton were small slaveholders and slaves farmers -Slavery moved into the Southwest, and planters of the upper south became reliant on slave sales, to compensate for declining value of crops Southern Trade and Industry -There was activity in flour milling and in textile and iron manufacturing in the upper south, but it was insignificant in the South compared to the agricultural economy -The nonfarm commercial center was mostly to serve the needs of the plantation economy; brokers, or factors, marketed the planters crops, tending to live in large towns where they worked to find buyers and where they purchased goods for planters they served; planters frequently accumulated large debts, and thus southern merchant bankers became figures of influence; professionals were closely tied to or dependent on the plantation economy; southerners became increasingly, and unhappily, dependent on the manufacturers of the North -There was inadequate regional transportation systems in the South; roads were crude and unsuitable for heavy transport, and railroads failed to connect; towns had connections with Memphis, and thus with the Northwest; several independent lines made a connection with the Ohio River and New Orleans; the principal means of transportation was water -Southerners noticed the economic subordination of their region to the north; James DB Debow advocated for economic independence of the South in De Bow’s Review magazine; however, this magazine was printed in New York, since no printer in New Orleans had faculties adequate

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