Sixty Percent of 1860 U.S. Export Income From Cotton

jgoodguy

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In 1860 American merchandise (all goods) exports totaled $354 million and merchandise imports (all goods) were $334 million. Thus, the trade deficit was $20 million.

(Net Specie and Bullion Exports) = [(Specie and Bullion Exports) - (Specie and Bullion Imports)]

Net Specie and Bullion Exports = $67 million - 9 million
Net Specie and Bullion Exports = $58 million.

Thus, the trade deficit in 1860 accounted for about 35% of the specie and bullion exports. Thereafter, domestic gold production (from your chart) was in a general downtrend until the early 1890s whereas the Union had trade deficits during the Civil War and for 9 of the first 1o years following the war. The latter would have been even larger w/o Southern cotton.

Sources:

One

Two
The war cost $6,190 million$ ref
Cotton exports 191 million$ ref

Seems going to war is a net loss. Take 32 years to make up the direct loss. More to pay pensions and what not.
 

WJC

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Well, again, yes and no. The government's major source of income in those years was the tariff on imported goods. If cotton exports provided 60 percent of the foreign exchange needed for imports, then that is an important piece of change.

I think there is a good argument to be made that the capitalist class in the North supported the war for self-serving reasons that had nothing to do with slavery or freedom. But this argument doesn't do anything to answer the question of what motivated the abolitionists or other anti-slavery folk, or why millions of working-class Northerners rallied to the Union even though they didn't care anything about slavery.

Any attempt to blame the war on "the capitalist class in the North" fails because the southern states, intent on preserving and extending their "peculiar institution", brought on the war.
 

NedBaldwin

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In 1860 American product (all goods) exports totaled $354 million and product imports (all goods) were $334 million resulting in a $20 million trade deficit. An examination of the Specie and Bullion item in relation to the deficit requires a calculation for "Net Specie and Bullion Exports."

(Net Specie and Bullion Exports) = [(Specie and Bullion Exports) - (Specie and Bullion Imports)]

Net Specie and Bullion Exports = $67 million - 9 million
Net Specie and Bullion Exports = $58 million.

Thus, the trade deficit in 1860 accounted for about 35% of the specie and bullion exports. Thereafter, domestic gold production (from your chart) was in a general downtrend until the early 1890s whereas the Union had trade deficits during the Civil War and for 9 of the first 1o years following the war. The latter would have been even larger w/o Southern cotton. Thus, w/o the South continuing to remain in the Union, the trade deficits would have far exceeded the likely gold production.

Sources: One, Two

Without the South remaining in the Union, goods flowing from the rest of the Union to the south would be counted as exports, thus your calculations are incomplete.
 

jgoodguy

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Philip Leigh

formerly Harvey Johnson
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Without the South remaining in the Union, goods flowing from the rest of the Union with the south would be counted as exports, thus your calculations are incomplete.

Without the South in the Union a far greater proportion of manufactured goods would have been purchased from Europe due to lower tariffs in the Confederacy. That was one of the chief reasons the North decided to fight the war as explained below.

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/so...rate-history-month.133095/page-9#post-1510531
 
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Eric Calistri

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Location
Austin Texas
In 1860 American merchandise (all goods) exports totaled $354 million and merchandise imports (all goods) were $334 million resulting in a $20 million trade deficit. An examination of the Specie and Bullion item in relation to the deficit requires a calculation for "Net Specie and Bullion Exports."

(Net Specie and Bullion Exports) = [(Specie and Bullion Exports) - (Specie and Bullion Imports)]

Net Specie and Bullion Exports = $67 million - 9 million
Net Specie and Bullion Exports = $58 million.

Thus, the trade deficit in 1860 accounted for about 35% of the specie and bullion exports. Thereafter, domestic gold production (from your chart) was in a general downtrend until the early 1890s whereas the Union had trade deficits during the Civil War and for 9 of the first 1o years following the war. The latter would have been even larger w/o Southern cotton.

Sources: One, Two

The figures quoted for exports above by myself and cedarstripper are using the Treasury Departments definition and standards for determining exports. The chart I put up in #151 is kinda hard to read, allow me to zoom in on the last few years at the bottom of the table:
Screenshot 2017-04-08 17.47.45.png

from here page 51.

As you can see I have already posted the numbers you include, as well as the net calculation.

Are you saying the Treasury Department was wrong in how they determine total exports?

In the 1850's the US was exporting about 50 million in gold and specie per year versus about 6 million per year in the 1840s.
 

cedarstripper

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They did, however, go to war in order to avoid the economic consequences of disunion, among which were concerns over increasing trade deficits.
History shows that as exports decreased, we decreased our imports. Such a thing might have been painful for some countries, but we were very self-sufficient, substituting the foreign imports with domestic goods. We continued to import the articles that we did not produce such as coffee, tea, sugar, silks, etc..
Please show where northern bankers were driven to go to war over the source of goods changing from foreign to domestic production and exactly how it deprived them of their "paychecks."
 

Philip Leigh

formerly Harvey Johnson
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As you may note from...R. P. Kennedy claimed that, "The Union [Yankee] wasn't making any money from these [cotton] exports."

My response (below his) provided sources with evidence that Yankees were making plenty of money off the trade.

Just to clarify, when I said "Union", I was referring to the government, not the North.

But I've grown tired of these kinds of discussions since they just go around and around ad nauseum and so will limit my participation.

Ryan

That only weakens your case because if you are not isolating the "North" in your analysis but instead are including the entire "Union," then the Southern states must be a part of that "Union" and those states were obviously profiting from cotton.
 

mobile_96

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Ill.
In 1860 American product (all goods) exports totaled $354 million and product imports (all goods) were $334 million resulting in a $20 million trade deficit. An examination of the Specie and Bullion item in relation to the deficit requires a calculation for "Net Specie and Bullion Exports."

Interesting, figured if you sell $354 million worth of product and only buy $334 million worth of product you should have about 20 million left in your wallet, thus a trade surplus.
With your reasoning, If I used your bank, all of the money (not really much in fact) that I didn't spend and put into the bank for the future, would actually be a debt???
Think I will stick with mine for the time being.
 

Eric Calistri

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Without the South in the Union a far greater proportion of manufactured goods would have been purchased from Europe due to lower tariffs in the Confederacy. That was one of the chief reasons the North decided to fight the war all explained below.

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/so...rate-history-month.133095/page-9#post-1510531

If it's a given that a neighbor with a lower tariff would be disaster for the Northern states, wouldn't The Province of Canada have been a great example of this prior to 1861?
 

Philip Leigh

formerly Harvey Johnson
Joined
Oct 22, 2014
History shows that as exports decreased, we decreased our imports. Such a thing might have been painful for some countries, but we were very self-sufficient...

For a long time cotton exports were a big part of that self-sufficiency.

...substituting the foreign imports with domestic goods.

Via high tariffs, which chiefly benefitted the Northern states. Moreover, they averaged 45% on dutiable items until Woodrow Wilson became president, which was nearly half a century after the Civil War ended. The proof of the importance of high tariffs to the Yankees is that they kept them high for a long time after the war ended. If high tariffs were not an important Yankee war motivation, they would have dropped after the war.

Please show where northern bankers were driven to go to war over the source of goods changing from foreign to domestic production and exactly how it deprived them of their "paychecks."

They were driven to go to war in order to avoid the economic consequences of disunion to the Northern economies, among which were the loss of Southern exports and the likely loss of merchandise sales to the Southern states due to lower tariffs in the otherwise resultant Confederacy.
 
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Philip Leigh

formerly Harvey Johnson
Joined
Oct 22, 2014
The figures quoted for exports above by myself and cedarstripper are using the Treasury Departments definition and standards for determining exports. The chart I put up in #151 is kinda hard to read, allow me to zoom in on the last few years at the bottom of the table:View attachment 131266
from here page 51.

As you can see I have already posted the numbers you include, as well as the net calculation.

Are you saying the Treasury Department was wrong in how they determine total exports?

In the 1850's the US was exporting about 50 million in gold and specie per year versus about 6 million per year in the 1840s.

I cannot make out what the figures in the table above represent because there are no headings on them.

Nonetheless, both you and cedarstripper have cited "Specie and Bullion Exports" without clarifying that they were partly required settlements to pay for merchandise trade deficits. That omission is misleading.
 
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cedarstripper

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western New York
For a long time cotton exports were a big part of that self-sufficiency.
But the point is, while countries like England would suffer from a loss of cotton imports that much of their industry was dependent upon, the US had no great dependencies on foreign goods. The US was not a currency junkie waiting for the next cotton sale to get her fix of European imports. Outside of some luxuries (I consider coffee a necessity) there really wasn't much we couldn't get along without, or make ourselves. I think you have overstated the importance of cotton exports and understated the robust US economy. And you have not even attempted to make a case that the financing and shipping patterns that evolved before 1860 would not have expected to continue, to a great extent unchanged, in the event of disunion. The South couldn't be bothered with them before. Why after?
 

Philip Leigh

formerly Harvey Johnson
Joined
Oct 22, 2014
If it's a given that a neighbor with a lower tariff would be disaster for the Northern states, wouldn't The Province of Canada have been a great example of this prior to 1861?

As a matter of fact, partly over trade differences, a significant number of Yankees were inclined to conquer Canada including President Grant.*

*James Thompson, Making North America, 31-32
 
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cedarstripper

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Location
western New York
Nonetheless, both you and cedarstripper have cited "Specie and Bullion Exports" without clarifying that they were partly required settlements to pay for merchandise trade deficits. That omission is misleading.
Please explain the difference in $50 million in raw cotton produced in Mississippi and $50 million in gold produced in California. Please explain why you think only "merchandise" qualifies.
 

O' Be Joyful

Sergeant Major
The South couldn't be bothered with them before. Why after?

Just a guess on my part, but apparently they expected The Internal Improvement Fairy to wave her wand (massive foreign investment/debt?) to dredge rivers and harbors, build huge docking and warehouse facilities, yada yada and thus PRESTO King Cotton bestrides the world as a colossus. And the Brits build ships right? Screw those Yankee bloodsuckers.
No need to worry about the future, such as crop failure, economic crisis, slave insurrection, future European gun boat debt intervention, etc. After all tomorrow is another day.
 

Philip Leigh

formerly Harvey Johnson
Joined
Oct 22, 2014
But the point is, while countries like England would suffer from a loss of cotton imports that much of their industry was dependent upon, the US had no great dependencies on foreign goods.

No. The point is that a truncated Union without the Southern states would have suffered signifiant economic consequences including the loss of (1) the South's export engine which accounted for about 63% of American product exports, (2) merchandise sales from the Northern states to the Southern states as Southerners switched from Yankee to European suppliers. It would also likely have faced the threat of Northern freebooters above the Ohio and Potomac Rivers smuggling European goods out of the Southern states

The US was not a currency junkie waiting for the next cotton sale to get her fix of European imports.

I am unsure of your meaning, but it is obvious that the American trade deficit would have been gigantically larger without Southern cotton exports. Unless the Yankees coerced the Southern states back into the Union, the cotton (and tobacco) would instead be exports of the Confederate nation.

...I think you have overstated the importance of cotton exports and understated the robust US economy.

And as the link above explains, I don't think you have even started to examine the economic consequences to a truncated Union of a separate Southern Confederacy.

And you have not even attempted to make a case that the financing and shipping patterns that evolved before 1860 would not have expected to continue, to a great extent unchanged, in the event of disunion. The South couldn't be bothered with them before. Why after?

As explained earlier, my citations about the shipping and financing patterns of cotton were to refute R. S. Kennedy's claim that the "Union" did not profit from cotton. Although you made an ambiguous response to my citation, you never clarified whether you were agreeing or disagreeing with Kennedy. It is impossible to discuss that matter further until you state whether or not you agree with Kennedy.
 
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Philip Leigh

formerly Harvey Johnson
Joined
Oct 22, 2014
Please explain the difference in $50 million in raw cotton produced in Mississippi and $50 million in gold produced in California. Please explain why you think only "merchandise" qualifies.

The difference is that specie and bullion "exports" had the unique capability (and requirement by convention) to serve as a settlement medium for international trade imbalances.

If you are denying that specie and bullion was used for international trade settlements place say so. If you are not denying it please explain why you failed to disclose the category's unique characteristic when you provided export data that included the class.
 
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