Cotton Statistics

jgoodguy

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Excellent synopsis of that Ph.D. dissertation. It would be fun to read the entire work, but I don't know if our library can get it from the University library. It's worth a try.

However, we can learn something from the extract: They wanted only American cotton. I know that there are several species of cotton, but did not know that there was any substantial difference in the cellulose fibers to make a difference in cloth manufacture. Now I know that there was. The mill spinning and weaving machinery was set up for the American species. Buying it from other countries with different species would have required a lot of changeovers and maybe even different machinery altogether.

Although cotton is a perennial, it is grown as an annual to reduce disease penetration and it grows fast, so I surmise that mill owners were planning to promptly distribute the American seeds to areas where there was plenty of sunlight and long, warm growing seasons. If they were successful, then that is why, after an initial dip, the imports remained high when American exports were almost nil. That success would have reduced the leverage that the Conf. gov't had over European mills about recognizing the Confederacy as an independent nation - or else.

Also, do the stats tell us something about the success of the blockade runners? I thought that from the literature the blockade was only moderately successful. If true, then why the precipitous decline in exports? Wouldn't the runners have loaded their outgoing vessels with cotton to pay for the weapons, ammo, and food on the return voyage? There's a lot of story behind these stats, but where to find it?

Norm
Link to the dissertation
RickyDaleCalhoun2012 (6).pdf
http://krex.k-state.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/2097/14956/RickyDaleCalhoun2012.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
 

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jgoodguy

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Yankees force Negroes back onto the Plantations immediately. Young Males are used for military purposes, all others, including women and children work. Some on Government run Plantations. Yankees want the Plantation System to recover as quickly as possible. There is no advantage to the Yankee to give the most important commodity production to Europe. Makes no Economic sense. Sugar and Cotton Production will shift because if the War. That is Natural.
As Host. Please stick to the topic. Thanks
 

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jgoodguy

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The piece that I'm still missing from this thread is the cost and productivity of planting and harvesting cotton with slave labor v. free labor. Instead of wishing for stats on foreign free labor, are there stats available that compare ante-bellum v. post-bellum American cotton costs and productivities?

Norm
FWIW
CHRONOLOGICAL_AND_STATISTICAL_HISTORY_OF.pdf
1552925410242.png
1552925647975.png
 

Norm53

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View attachment 297580

Hi Norm,

Here is some data on world sources of cotton in the antebellum period, which is hopefully helpful to you.

As you can see, the US is by far the most significant source of cotton supplier in the years leading up to the Civil War.
Can you obtain comparable data for the war years? From the dissertation, it is clear that cotton from foreign sources (Egypt, Anatolia, Palestine, Brazil, Argentina, etc.) contributed to the European imports. Therefore, I would expect that as US market share dips considerably during the war years, that of foreigners increases during those years.

PS. I expect that successful outbound blockade runners were filled with cotton as the medium of exchange, but as contraband, there would be no statistics on the # of bales received on foreign shores.

Norm
 

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Page 320, PhD dissertation:

"Chapter 10
"India and the Far East

"India was by far England’s most important source of cotton during the
American Civil War. Of the 14 million bales of cotton imported into Europe during
the war, almost 7 million bales came from India. Indian cotton made by far the
greatest contribution to the failure of the South’s King Cotton diplomatic strategy."

FYI, if you add the European imports for the years 61-65 as shown in the table on post #4, it comes close to 14 million bales from the PhD diss.

Norm
 

ebg12

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The piece that I'm still missing from this thread is the cost and productivity of planting and harvesting cotton with slave labor v. free labor. Instead of wishing for stats on foreign free labor, are there stats available that compare ante-bellum v. post-bellum American cotton costs and productivities?

Norm

In 1820 Gosspium babadense-or Gulf cotton was discovered in Mississippi.
Gulf cotton slid through the cotton gines easier, produced more useable cotton,
grew faster, and was cheaper to plant. Southern cotton was very fine quality.

even by 1950, 75% of the cotton planted was still "picked by hand" because modern machinery at that time was
inefficent at the task. So, the more cotton planted...the more hands to pick it is needed.

By 1900 85% of black farmers were sharecroppers.
Sharecropping is different than tenant farming in that the sharecropper does not own his own equipment.

If free labor was profitable...then share cropping would not have developed after the civil war.
 
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Norm53

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In 1820 Gosspium babadense-or Gulf cotton was discovered in Mississippi.
Gulf cotton slid through the cotton gines easier, produced more useable cotton,
grew faster, and was cheaper to plant. Southern cotton was very fine quality.
Me: Everything here was confirmed by the PhD thesis.
even by 1950, 75% of the cotton planted was still "picked by hand" because modern machinery at that time was inefficient at the task. So, the more cotton planted...the more hands to pick it is needed.
Me: I can believe that too. No mechanical pickers at that time.
By 1900 85% of black farmers were sharecroppers.
Sharecropping is different than tenant farming in that the sharecropper does not own his own equipment.
Me: I need some books to understand cotton farming, sharecropping, tenant farming. This is a vacuum in my mind. What are some sources?
If free labor was profitable...then sharecropping would not have developed after the civil war.
Me: Seems logical, but I need a deeper understanding of these two modes of farming.

The PhD thesis compared productivity of cotton slave labor v. that of wheat free labor to show why each persisted in the south and north respectively. That is consistent with what you just said about sharecropping.

Finally, I would like to know more about the properties of different cotton plant species that made them useful for some final products but not others. And also more about their respective effects on spinning and weaving technology going from fiber -> yarn -> fabric -> cloth. I admit, not relevant at a site about the ACW, but interesting to me just the same.

Thanks for your response. Norm
 

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Southern Wealth and Northern Profits, Thomas Prentice Kettell
https://archive.org/details/southernwealth00kettrich/page/n4

According to Kettell, the highest grade of cotton, I.E. that used for clothing etc., could only be grown in the Southern United States. Book published in 1860
Thanks for the book. I scanned through it. Excellent for knowing about the cotton business, but not much tech info, with one exception: There are a few paragraphs taken from another source that discusses long, medium, and short staple cotton and how they are used for the warp and weft, and the kinds of fibers produced in India, Brazil, Australia, Sea Island (US) and Upland (US). Apparently, different fibers from different species of plants were used for different purposes - cloth is one important end product. No discussion in the book about spinning, weaving, printing machinery.

Obviously, I have superficially encountered a vast, complex industry. I would have to find UK and US books that describe the manufacturing processes for cloth (in contrast to other cotton products). Presently, I'm trying to understand the movements and battles of the Armies of the Cumberland, Potomac, Tennessee, and Ohio leading to Appomattox C.H. How much time do I want to devote to cotton cloth manufacture? (This is a rhetorical question, of course.)

Addendum: Ordered the hard copy from Abebooks for $6.48. (Book was published in 1860, so no CW effects involved.)
Norm
 
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ebg12

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Me: I can believe that too. No mechanical pickers at that time.

1950 there were mechanical pickers for cotton, however the machines would not only "pick the cotton", but they would pick the stems and everything else that needed to be separated from the cotton later. Only after 1950 were they able to
manufacture machines that would "pick the cotton and everything else, and then mechanically separate the unwanted material. That is why still by 1950 75% of the cotton grown was still picked by hands because machinery was inefficient
 

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Me: I can believe that too. No mechanical pickers at that time.

1950 there were mechanical pickers for cotton, however the machines would not only "pick the cotton", but they would pick the stems and everything else that needed to be separated from the cotton later. Only after 1950 were they able to
manufacture machines that would "pick the cotton and everything else, and then mechanically separate the unwanted material. That is why still by 1950 75% of the cotton grown was still picked by hands because machinery was inefficient
Very good. From where are you obtaining your considerable knowledge of cotton fiber production?

Norm
 

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The 1830s witnessed a historic expansion of New York investment in shipping lines both transatlantic lines involved in international shipping as well as coastal lines that shipped between Southern ports and New York.
Sir, I absolutely do not question the importance of cotton to the tremendous expansion of NYC as a commerce center. I would like to add that cotton wasn't the only reason for this. One of the others was the Erie Canal. Completed in 1825, it gave the surplus resources from the vast American hinterland, (and anyone on the Great Lakes), easy access to the rest of the water-reachable country and the world. Prior to the development of this level of transportation, farms were subsistence level and if lucky enough to be near an urban center, extra cash could be made as long as the transportation cost didn't outweigh the value of the product. Once the Canal opened, it took a few years for the realization to sink in that transpo costs had diminished to the point that large scale farming away from burgeoning urban centers was profitable. Once that was proven as economically viable, the Old Northwest started to kick-behind in the production of surplus foodstuffs. While most of the agriculture products that poured into NYC were consumed internally, grain production was such that international trade was established. Also with the advent of canals and the complementary, then competitive, railroads, Pennsylvania 'cotton' - anthracite coal - greatly added to the establishment of NYC as a commodities center. An excellent example of 'right place - right time'
351

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Norm53

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Sir, I absolutely do not question the importance of cotton to the tremendous expansion of NYC as a commerce center. I would like to add that cotton wasn't the only reason for this. One of the others was the Erie Canal. Completed in 1825, it gave the surplus resources from the vast American hinterland, (and anyone on the Great Lakes), easy access to the rest of the water-reachable country and the world. Prior to the development of this level of transportation, farms were subsistence level and if lucky enough to be near an urban center, extra cash could be made as long as the transportation cost didn't outweigh the value of the product. Once the Canal opened, it took a few years for the realization to sink in that transpo costs had diminished to the point that large scale farming away from burgeoning urban centers was profitable. Once that was proven as economically viable, the Old Northwest started to kick-behind in the production of surplus foodstuffs. While most of the agriculture products that poured into NYC were consumed internally, grain production was such that international trade was established. Also with the advent of canals and the complementary, then competitive, railroads, Pennsylvania 'cotton' - anthracite coal - greatly added to the establishment of NYC as a commodities center. An excellent example of 'right place - right time'
351

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
I agree completely with your analysis, having studied the canal, the anthracite regions, and the port. Oddly, though, in Albion's book, The Rise of New York Port, which I read long ago, he claims that the canal did not appreciably impact the port; that it was already mighty because of other factors. I find that hard to believe, but I never took the time to refute it.

Norm
 


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