Compiled_Notes - Agriculture in Texas and "King Cotton"...

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Agriculture in Texas and “King Cotton” 1900-1930 Background: Pre-20 th Century Texas - Pre-Civil War farming in Texas and Cotton - Post-Civil War changes and Increase of Tenancy - RRs and Increased Commercial Farming - Crops other than Cotton - Post Civil War Increased in Agriculture - Depression of 1890s Early 20 th Century, General - Increased Prosperity in Farming - Increase in Agriculture Expansion - Crops and Cattle Cotton, 1900-1930 - Post WWI Decline in Prices - Increase in Ag Acreage - Tenant Farming - Share-Cropping - Crop-lien System - Debt Peonage - Increase in Rural Poverty Farming began long before Anglos. Native Americans grew corn, squash, beans, and even some cotton as long as hundreds of years ago. Livestock industry did not become commercial until Spanish Texas – included cattle, sheep, goats, hogs; most cattlemen had small gardens for family use. Cattle were often sold commercially. “Tejas” was the northernmost province of Mexico so they offered people incentives (land?) to move there; 1830s Stephen F. Austin led Texans to central and east Texas, Texas revolution in 1836 (Alamo)…. Anglo-American immigrants were small family farmers for the most parts. A few of the immigrants to Tejas (from America) brought with them the cotton plantation system; with it came slavery. Cotton primarily cultivated for sale on the market. The big main crop in the South was cotton because: England’s industrial revolution (most 1700s) – the backbone was cotton-textile industry. As industrialism was beginning to take off in the US, the cotton-textile industry took off in the NE states. Textile industries in NE and England want to buy as much cotton as they can to produce more textiles; this makes a terrific market to Southern farmers. The only problem was that it was difficult to separate the cotton from the sticky bole. Eli Whitney and the cotton gin solved that; now cotton can be sold on a small scale… and large… to make lots of money selling to the NE and Eng. As the Cotton Kingdom grew, so did slavery. After the Civil War, there was no redistribution of land, but what they did not own any longer was the workforce. Small families just kept doing what they did, but large plantation owners either had to hire laborers, but they were flat broke after the Civil War (interest was tight, something else, so money was difficult to borrow). Large landowners had no capital and no laborers, so they started renting out their land to people who had lost their land or wanted land, etc… this is called Tenant Farming. Ag in Texas increased terrifically in the last decades of the 19 th century (so many southerners were immigrating into Texas after Civil War since TX was predominantly unscathed). Many of these people become tenant “Antibellum South” people who had lots of land and fields and workers --??
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farmers. Number of farms in TX doubled in 1880s then doubled again in 1890s. This does not equal prosperity though because there were a series of serious economic depressions. Worst of which was in the 1890s: prices of
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course HIST 320R taught by Professor Seaholm during the Spring '08 term at University of Texas.

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Compiled_Notes - Agriculture in Texas and "King Cotton"...

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