King Cotton


King Cotton

King Cotton was a phrase used in the Southern United States mainly by Southern politicians and authors who wanted to illustrate the importance of the cotton crop to the Confederate economy during the American Civil War. [citebook|title=A Financial History of the United States |author= Jerry W. Markham|year=2002|publisher=M.E. Sharpe|url=http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN0765607301&id=Uazpff00Y5EC&pg=RA1-PA231&lpg=RA1-PA231&dq=%22King+Cotton%22&ie=ISO-8859-1&output=html&sig=Pb25LMlNpE5iOgcD6AOC7yv2SCE|id=ISBN 0765607301] [Frank Lawrence Owsley, "King Cotton Diplomacy: Foreign relations of the Confederate States of America" (1931)] [John Mack Faragher, et al., Out of Many: A History of the American People. Volume 1, Fourth Edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2003] However, the attempt to use this trade as a diplomatic weapon to force Europe's hand in the American Civil War proved a serious strategic blunder.

History

Southern plantations generated three-fourths of the world's cotton supply. [ [http://college.hmco.com/history/readerscomp/gahff/html/ff_108100_kingcotton.htm Houghton Mifflin College - Log In/Registration ] ] In particular, after the invention of the cotton gin the production of cotton surpassed that of tobacco in the South and became the dominant cash crop.

The rapid growth of cotton production was an international phenomenon, prompted by events occurring far from the American South. The insatiable demand for cotton was a result of the technological and social changes that are today known as the Industrial Revolution. Beginning early in the eighteenth century, a series of inventions resulted in the mechanized spinning and weaving of cloth in the world’s first factories in the north of England. The ability of these factories to produce unprecedented amounts of cotton cloth revolutionized the world economy.

The invention of the cotton gin came just at the right time. British textile manufacturers were eager to buy all the cotton that the South could produce. The figures for cotton production support this conclusion: from 720,000 bales in 1830, to 2.85 million bales in 1850, to nearly 5 million in 1860. By the time of the Civil War, cotton accounted for almost 60% of American exports, representing a total value of nearly $300 million a year. Cotton’s central place in the national economy and its international importance led Senator James Henry Hammond of South Carolina to make a famous boast in 1858:

Southerners thought their survival depended on the sympathy of Europe to offset the power of the Union. They believed that cotton was so essential to Europe that they would intervene in any civil war.

When war broke out the Confederate Congress decided to refuse to allow the export of cotton to Europe. The idea was that this cotton diplomacy would force Europe to intervene. European states did not, however, intervene and, following Abraham Lincoln's decision to impose a blockade, the South was unable to move its millions of bales of cotton. The production of cotton increased in other parts of the world, such as India and Egypt, to meet the demand.

References

ee also

* Eli Whitney
* Boll Weevil

External links

* [http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/civil-war/1861/september/king-cotton.htm Cotton King Cartoon]
* [http://www.civilwarhome.com/kingcotton.htm King Cotton]


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  • King Cotton — King King, n. [AS. cyng, cyning; akin to OS. kuning, D. koning, OHG. kuning, G. k[ o]nig, Icel. konungr, Sw. konung, Dan. konge; formed with a patronymic ending, and fr. the root of E. kin; cf. Icel. konr a man of noble birth. [root]44. See {Kin} …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • King cotton — (traduit par Le Coton est roi ) est une formule utilisée lors d un discours devant le Sénat américain en 1858 par James Henry Hammond (1807 1864) planteur de coton de Caroline du Sud, qui a ensuite plaidé pour la sécession de la Caroline du Sud… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • King Cotton — U.S. Hist. cotton and cotton growing considered, in the pre Civil War South, as a vital commodity, the major factor not only in the economy but also in politics. [1850 55, Amer.] * * * Phrase used before the American Civil War to denote the… …   Universalium

  • King Cotton — (inglés: el rey algodón) Término que se usó antes de la guerra de Secesión para referirse a la importancia económica que tenía la producción sureña de algodón. El concepto apareció por primera vez en el libro Cotton Is King [El algodón es rey]… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • King Cotton — U.S. Hist. cotton and cotton growing considered, in the pre Civil War South, as a vital commodity, the major factor not only in the economy but also in politics. [1850 55, Amer.] …   Useful english dictionary

  • King Cotton — personification of the cotton crop of the southern United States …   Eponyms, nicknames, and geographical games

  • King Cotton (play) — King Cotton is a specially commissioned musical written by Jimmy McGovern and directed by Jude Kelly, with original music by Howard Goodall. The production is based on an idea by Ian Brownbill and designed by Ti Green. The piece has been co… …   Wikipedia

  • King Cotton (march) — King Cotton is a military march composed in 1895Cite web|url=http://www.dws.org/sousa/articles/works.htm|title=The Works of John Philip Sousa|accessyear=2008|accessmonthday=June 6|publisher=Dallas Wind Symphony|work=John Philip Sousa American… …   Wikipedia

  • Cotton — Cotton, Robert Bruce * * * (as used in expressions) Cotton Belt Cotton Club Cotton, John Cotton, sir Robert Bruce King Cotton Mather, Cotton …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • King — King, n. [AS. cyng, cyning; akin to OS. kuning, D. koning, OHG. kuning, G. k[ o]nig, Icel. konungr, Sw. konung, Dan. konge; formed with a patronymic ending, and fr. the root of E. kin; cf. Icel. konr a man of noble birth. [root]44. See {Kin}.] 1 …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English


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