King Cotton & the Southern Slave Economy. The Rise of “King Cotton”. Southern cotton fueled the English & American Industrial Revolutions. “King Cotton” was the dynamic force driving the American economy from 1790-1840: The South provided ¾ of world’s cotton
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The Rise of “King Cotton” Southern cotton fueled the English & American Industrial Revolutions • “King Cotton” was the dynamic force driving the American economy from 1790-1840: • The South provided ¾ of world’s cotton • Slave population grew 300% • Southern cotton stimulated Northern industry; The North dominated cotton textiles, shipping, & marketing
The Rise of “King Cotton” • The introduction of short-staple cotton strengthened and changed the American economy: • Cotton could now be grown anywhere in the South • The cotton gin (1793) made seed extraction easy • The potential for profits led to a cotton boom & the expansion of slavery in the South “Southern way of life” White Southerners perceived their economic interests to be tied to slavery
Cotton expansion led to “Alabama Fever” from 1816 to 1820 Southern Agriculture Southern expansion boomed again from 1832 to 1838 into Mississippi, Louisiana, & Arkansas …and again in the mid-1850s into Texas
Slave Concentration, 1820 Slave Concentration by 1860
Slavery in a Changing World The South lagged by choice because these were risky investments, but cotton was safe • Antebellum regional differences: • By 1820, all Northern states abolished slavery • The South lagged behind the North in cities, industry, & railroads • Southern population grew slower than in the North & West Southern politicians feared being permanently outvoted in Congress By 1860, only 35% of railroads were in the South By 1860, only 15% of U.S. factories were in the South