Retrieved 23: Cotton and the Plantation Economy

USS ALASKA

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#41
With regards to southern transportation, I will need more evidence that it was superior to that of the north.
Sir, I do not wish to speak for @wausaubob but I believe that his comparison was to other transportation systems in non-US cotton growing regions - not the northern part of the USA.

My SWAG guess,
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Norm53

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#43
Sir, was American cotton truly superior or because of it's cost and abundance, manufacturing processes were established that targeted that strain of fiber so as to make it the most desirable feed stock?

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
All of the above, according to various authors. Please read the PhD. thesis and the e-book.
 

Norm53

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#44
Sir, which they did...

By 1864..."In England, the Cotton Supply Association claimed that the quality of Indian Cotton now made it acceptable to fully one half of Lancashire's spindles and looms."

Don't have the source handy for that one at the moment...



As Mahatma Gandhi described the process...
  1. English people buy Indian cotton in the field, picked by Indian labor at seven cents a day, through an optional monopoly.
  2. This cotton is shipped on British ships, a three-week journey across the Indian Ocean, down the Red Sea, across the Mediterranean, through Gibraltar, across the Bay of Biscay and the Atlantic Ocean to London. One hundred per cent profit on this freight is regarded as small.
  3. The cotton is turned into cloth in Lancashire. You pay shilling wages instead of Indian pennies to your workers. The English worker not only has the advantage of better wages, but the steel companies of England get the profit of building the factories and machines. Wages; profits; all these are spent in England.
  4. The finished product is sent back to India at European shipping rates, once again on British ships. The captains, officers, sailors of these ships, whose wages must be paid, are English. The only Indians who profit are a few lascars who do the dirty work on the boats for a few cents a day.
  5. The cloth is finally sold back to the kings and landlords of India who got the money to buy this expensive cloth out of the poor peasants of India who worked at seven cents a day.
I can't speak to whether the final product was inferior or not.
920

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
"I can't speak to whether the final product was inferior or not." Somewhere in this thread or the other to which I am replying simultaneously, some author said it was inferior. I will have to peruse both threads to find it.
 
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ebg12

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#45
`
I disagree with this statement: "I don't think it was slavery that made American cotton dominant."

Although American cotton was superior in quality, which certainly contributed to its dominance, it also was cheap because of the cheap slave labor required to hand pick it. The combination of low cost and high quality resulted in American cotton acquiring 80% of the cotton fiber market.

With respect to the statement, "The southern transportation system was better and the southern farmers were better agronomists.", undoubtedly southern farmers were better cotton agronomists, probably better than any in the world, based on the many years of growing it. However, I would hesitate to generalize that to other products, such as wheat, corn, rice and sugar.

With regards to southern transportation, I will need more evidence that it was superior to that of the north.

Norm
Agree:
American cotton in 1850 and even today is a superior product.

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

1833 Petit Gulf cotton was developed...even producing a greater yield!

Georgia cotton in 1860 was yielding 900 pounds per acre (at 7 harvest per year), but Gulf cotton was yielding 1200 pounds per acre.
Also increased, was the concentration of slave population along the Mississippi River.

With the Indian removal act of 1830, the invention of the steamboat around 1812, the development of Gulf Cotton, and Slavery....the "Southern Cotton Belt" was born along the Mississippi River. India nor Egypt couldn't compete with such an efficient production.
 
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Norm53

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#46
`

Agree:
American cotton in 1850 and even today is a superior product.

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

1833 Petit Gulf cotton was developed...even producing a greater yield!

Georgia cotton in 1860 was yielding 900 pounds per acre (at 7 harvest per year), but Gulf cotton was yielding 1200 pounds per acre.
Also, increased was the concentration of slave population along the Mississippi River.

With the Indian removal act of 1830, the invention of the steamboat around 1812, the development of Gulf Cotton, and Slavery....the "Southern Cotton Belt" was born along the Mississippi River. India nor Egypt couldn't compete with such an efficient production.
Uncle, uncle! Each one of your statements involves months of study.
 

ebg12

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#48
During the civil war Egypt's ruler was Khedive known as "the Great builder." He litterally "banked" on the
knowledge that the Union blockade of the Southern ports couldn't be broken depriving Britain Mills of cotton.

With a boom in Egypt's cotton demand during the civil war, The money made by cotton allowed him to finish building the Suez Canal,
build the first opera house in Egypt, buy American Arms to rebuild his Army, and after 1865 hire approx. 50 ex-Union and
Confederate officers to build his new General Staff.

But after 1865, the American southern production of cotton had risen to it's 1850 level, and the demand for Egypt's cotton (which was a poorer quality then American cotton) dropped.

By that time in 1870, Khedive had involved Egypt in a war with Ethiopia, and to finance his war without profits from cotton exports...he sold the Suez Canal to Britain. Also, by that point, British financial institutions took control of Egypt's economy because of the debt that had incurred in the failed business of cotton growing in Egypt after 1865.

The beginning of Great Britain ruling Egypt is linked to the Union blockade of southern cotton during the civil war.
 

O' Be Joyful

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#49
Georgia cotton in 1860 was yielding 900 pounds per acre (at 7 harvest per year), but Gulf cotton was yielding 1200 pounds per acre.
I am far from being an expert here and would welcome correction. But, as noted my bolded above, my understanding is that with an average of 7 pickings over the same stand of cotton during the same harvest year, this would be another major reason that the often expressed panacea that mechanization*-- i.e., the mechanical cotton-picker--would have sped slavery to its demise w/o the war... is complete and utter Bunk.

*The #1 reason why I have kept this source handy for almost 3 years. :wink:

https://eh.net/encyclopedia/mechanical-cotton-picker/
 

Norm53

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#50
I am far from being an expert here and would welcome correction. But, as noted my bolded above, my understanding is that with an average of 7 pickings over the same stand of cotton during the same harvest year, this would be another major reason that the often expressed panacea that mechanization*-- i.e., the mechanical cotton-picker--would have sped slavery to its demise w/o the war... is complete and utter Bunk.

*The #1 reason why I have kept this source handy for almost 3 years. :wink:

https://eh.net/encyclopedia/mechanical-cotton-picker/
I am far from being an expert here and would welcome correction. But, as noted my bolded above, my understanding is that with an average of 7 pickings over the same stand of cotton during the same harvest year, this would be another major reason that the often expressed panacea that mechanization*-- i.e., the mechanical cotton-picker--would have sped slavery to its demise w/o the war... is complete and utter Bunk.

*The #1 reason why I have kept this source handy for almost 3 years. :wink:

https://eh.net/encyclopedia/mechanical-cotton-picker/
I thought that I replied to this post before. Maybe not. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed it and save it.
 

O' Be Joyful

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#51
I thought that I replied to this post before. Maybe not. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed it and save it.
You did Norm, but in the other cotton thread, you guys have my head spinning trying to keep up. :smile:

After having a thread such as this--detailing cotton production at the time--promised by a fellow respected member for over 2 years, I am finding this quite fascinating. Perhaps, he will eventually join in on the fun.
 

ebg12

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#52
I am far from being an expert here and would welcome correction. But, as noted my bolded above, my understanding is that with an average of 7 pickings over the same stand of cotton during the same harvest year, this would be another major reason that the often expressed panacea that mechanization*-- i.e., the mechanical cotton-picker--would have sped slavery to its demise w/o the war... is complete and utter Bunk.

*The #1 reason why I have kept this source handy for almost 3 years. :wink:

https://eh.net/encyclopedia/mechanical-cotton-picker/
great article!

by 1950 75% percent of the cotton still was picked by hand because machinery had not been developed fully to deal with the task.

by 1920 85% of black farmers were sharecroppers.
 
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#55
I disagree with this statement: "I don't think it was slavery that made American cotton dominant."

Although American cotton was superior in quality, which certainly contributed to its dominance, it also was cheap because of the cheap slave labor required to hand pick it. The combination of low cost and high quality resulted in American cotton acquiring 80% of the cotton fiber market.

With respect to the statement, "The southern transportation system was better and the southern farmers were better agronomists.", undoubtedly southern farmers were better cotton agronomists, probably better than any in the world, based on the many years of growing it. However, I would hesitate to generalize that to other products, such as wheat, corn, rice and sugar.

With regards to southern transportation, I will need more evidence that it was superior to that of the north.

Norm
Per Colonel Arthur Fremantle's published diary of his travels to the Confederacy ; Rail Road travel was extremely exciting in the sense of facing the real possibility of life and limb.
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#56
As stated by @ebg12, the American varieties were superior. Seeds from the ginning were extremely valuable and the Cotton Supply Association wanted unginned cotton as early as 1858.
American growers concentrated on the rivers, as the steamboats were perfect for transporting a high volume, but durable product. With just a few supplement railroads, the US southern transportation system was vastly superior to anything in India. With those advantages, the US growers were dominant with any labor system. Slavery was efficient for opening new land, but for sustained production, paying the good producers would have worked nearly as well. Good thread.
 

Yankeedave

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#59
Interestingly enough the British cotton textile industry did not encourage cotton cultivation in Cuba and Brazil. I have seen cotton fields in El Salvador. Curious has to why the British didn't finance or encourage the Central American nations who were independent by the early 1820s to produce cotton?
Leftyhunter
That would fall under Knights of the Golden Circle.
 
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#60
That would fall under Knights of the Golden Circle.
Not sure why that would be true. The Knights of the Golden Circle was a private American political organization. It would of made perfect sense for the West European consumers of cotton to invest in Central American cotton fields to lessen their dependency on American cotton. Their investment would of certainly payed off in the Civil War.
Leftyhunter
 



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