Cotton and the Plantation Economy

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

Norm53

Sergeant
Joined
Feb 13, 2019
Messages
771
Location
Cape May, NJ
This one could be useful to a couple of current threads...

East Texas Historical Journal
Volume 48 | Issue 1 Article 8
3-2010

Confederates and Cotton in East Texas
by Judy Gentry

This Article is brought to you for free and open access by SFA ScholarWorks. It has been accepted for inclusion in East Texas Historical Journal by an authorized administrator of SFA ScholarWorks. For more information, please contact [email protected].

The Union naval blockade of the Confederate coastline severely disrupted existing marketing practices. Cotton producers east of the Brazos found their efforts to market their crops disrupted by the unavailability of shipping and the accelerating breakdown of the factorage system that had served their needs since the 1830s. The Union blockade, distance from the Mexican border and the main blockade--running port at Galveston, and the unavailability of enough wagons and teams for overland transport of crops kept the gold value of their cotton in the low range.
Government policies originating from the Confederate capital in Virginia and implemented by the Confederate army also affected the production and marketing of cotton in Texas east of the Brazos. The Confederate Produce Loan in 1861, a government cotton purchasing agent in 1863, Cotton Bureau policies in 1864 and early 1865, and in the last few months of the war, new Confederate Treasury Department rules greatly impacted the lives of cotton producers. Texas east of the Brazos did not share in the large profits that cotton producers in western Texas enjoyed during the war, but planters were able to survive economically despite the blockade and despite the coerced sales of half their crops. Some large planters successfully resisted both coerced sales and impressments, thereby preserving their ability to benefit from the short-lived high prices for cotton that prevailed in the third quarter of 1865.


https://scholarworks.sfasu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2594&context=ethj
400

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
Excellent article. Thanks.
 

USS ALASKA

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Mar 16, 2016
Messages
4,537
Journal of International Economics 60 (2003) 275–291
www.elsevier.com / locate / econbase

The optimal tax on antebellum US cotton exports
by Douglas A. Irwin

Department of Economics and NBER,
Dartmouth College,Hanover,NH03755,USA
Received 2 April 2001; received in revised form 10 April 2002; accepted 24 April 2002

Abstract
The US produced about 80% of the world’s cotton in the decades prior to the Civil War. How much monopoly power did the US possess in the world cotton market and what would have been the effect of an optimal export tax? This paper estimates the elasticity of foreign demand for US cotton exports and uses the elasticity in a simple partial equilibrium model to calculate the optimal export tax and its effect on prices, trade, and welfare. The results indicate that the export demand elasticity for US cotton was about - 1.7 and that the optimal export tax of about 50% would have raised US welfare by about $10 million, about 0.3% of US GDP or about 1% of the South’s GDP.

https://www.dartmouth.edu/~dirwin/docs/exporttax.pdf
1843

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
 

Attachments

wausaubob

Major
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Messages
8,659
Location
Denver, CO
An export tax might have helped the American textile industry, including creating a spinning season at least in Winter and early Spring.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

USS ALASKA

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Mar 16, 2016
Messages
4,537
University of Richmond
UR Scholarship Repository
Honors Theses Student Research
2003

The effect of slavery on southern farmland values in the antebellum and postbellum era
by Brandon Devlin

This Thesis is brought to you for free and open access by the Student Research at UR Scholarship Repository. It has been accepted for inclusion in Honors Theses by an authorized administrator of UR Scholarship Repository. For more information, please contact
[email protected].

In the past 30 years, the legacy of African-American slavery has experienced a transformation in historical perspective. Morality aside, several historians have suggested that the accepted views regarding slavery need revision, particularly in an economic sense. Utilizing cliometrics, census records, diaries, and first-hand accounts of slavery in the South, economic historians such as Robert Fogel and Stanley Engennan have made a compelling case for the viability and profitability of slavery by exposing the nuances of the system that historical generalities often ignore. Of course, words like "viable" and ''profitable" do not necessarily mean "virtuous" or even "preferable", but it does imply that the previous understanding of slavery is inaccurate and incomplete.

This debate drove me to study slavery and its effects on Southern farmland values. Fogel and Engerman re-ignited the interest in American slavery and forced people to reexamine the realities of African bondage in their 1974 book, Time on the Cross. I was struck by the counter-intuitive conclusions of the book; how could slavery function as a "superior" agricultural system to that of the North, or be more efficient than other farming methods? Had I not learned in grade school that slavery would have died out eventually because of the evolution to free labor in the United States and the Abolition movement? These things puzzled me, but more importantly, I recognized the nuances of the slave system. There is a great deal of uncertainty surrounding slavery, in how profitable it was for plantations, how cruel the punishments were, or how its abolition affected the Southern economy after the Civil War.

The following study reflects this ambiguity. I started with a broad historical narrative similar to that of prior historical analysis. When I began my study of land values, I saw a clear relationship between rising land values and the growth of slavery in the antebellum era. After the war, conversely, the abolition of slavery handicapped Southern economic growth and contributed to its plight. The initial map study directly supports these relationships. Slave-reliant counties grew the most in percentage monetary value between 1850 and 1860 and decreased the most between 1860 and 1870. Yet when I began a limited cliometric study of Virginia, Kentucky, Alabama, and Louisiana, many of the same ambiguities Fogel and Engerman exposed became clear to me. Much like in Time on the Cross, as I continued to explore the specifics of slavery, I recognized that it was not that simple; there were too many nuances to the system and to the South to create one single Southern paradigm. The statistics revealed that it is impossible to blanket the South with a general statement; true, slave-dense counties did increase in land value during the 1850s, but it essentially depended on which region of the South you examined. For the map analysis, I divided the South into three regions: the Border States, the Appalachian and Atlantic States, and the Gulf States. The South demonstrated considerable homogeneity in land value gains across specific regions, such as urban areas and river counties, but on average the largest increases occurred in slave-dense regions such as the Mississippi Delta and Cotton Belt. Due to different geographies, demographics, and aggregate regional wealth, however, slavery affected the distinct regions of the South to differing degrees. Ultimately, by studying slavery and its economic consequences for the South, the revision that began with Fogel and Engennan will continue to reshape America's understanding of the "peculiar institution".


https://scholarship.richmond.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2032&context=honors-theses
1935

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
 

Attachments

wausaubob

Major
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Messages
8,659
Location
Denver, CO
The paper cited above demonstrates the point I have asserted. There were several slave economies, not just one. Conditions in Maryland were unrelated to conditions in New Orleans. Missouri, Kentucky and most of Tennessee, were not directly involved in the cotton economy. There were not connected to world textile market, and did not want to see slavery expanded into other lines of commerce.
The Confederates hid from this problem, but by July 1863 it was staring them in the face. The non cotton parts of the south did not care about secession. The nationalist Whigs and Douglas Democrats were unenthusiastic dissenters, who leaked from the Confederacy if there was any US support.
 
Last edited:

O' Be Joyful

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 6, 2015
Messages
3,252
Location
Use-ta be: Zinn-zä-nätti o-HI-o The BIG city.
The results indicate that the export demand elasticity for US cotton was about - 1.7 and that the optimal export tax of about 50% would have raised US welfare by about $10 million, about 0.3% of US GDP or about 1% of the South’s GDP.

Hmm...$4 billion in en-slaved value vs. $10 Million. Now what the heck coulda started... oh, nevermind.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

wausaubob

Major
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Messages
8,659
Location
Denver, CO
And there are some references that southern politicians were aware of this problem. Texas and high mortality might have drawn all the slaves out of the border south, until the border south states closed of the sale of slaves, like Delaware had done. Under those circumstances the number of slave states could decrease to 9 or 10. The loss of political influence would be serious, but if there 30 paid labor states and only 10 slave states, direct action against slavery would be a constant political issue.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Top