Slaves as collateral?

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#41
With respect to cotton prices,https://krex.k-state.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/2097/14956/RickyDaleCalhoun2012.pdf?sequence=1 Mr. Calhoun presents the best collection of evidence.
The real price of cotton remained favorable, as the war time inflation was wrung out of the system. As production returned, and Texas gained railroads, the real price of cotton began to fall, and since it was supporting a larger population, and more inputs of all types.
After 1879 the real price of cotton stagnated or fell.
Slaves would not have been secure collateral much longer in the US and certainly insecure in Texas, Arkansas and Missouri.
 

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jgoodguy

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#42
I'm not sure what you're conveying here. Cents per pound?

If so, it doesn't look good. If cotton fetched fifteen cents per pound in 1856 and 62 cents per pound in 1862, the nine and three quarter cents price in 1876 looks pretty grim and represents a huge hit to a producer's income.

You're missing eleven years between 1865-1876, also. That would be interesting to see.
cents/pound.
I know about the missing data and I am looking for a better source.
the 1862 price is wartime price, the reason the Yankee army was looking for Cotton bales and why there was a horde of shady characters following it.
There is the possibility that if the secessionists had held off a year, by '63 they'd other problems than the evil Lincoln to deal with from too many plantations and too few customers of Cotton. I don't think it so much of a crash in demand, but demand did not increase as fast because there were no new markets and demand was stagnant. Think of PCs or any new tech gadgets, The first ones are sky high, then it is simply a commodity.

There were Cotton busts in the 1840s and throughout the post-war era. 1860 was ripe for a bust, but the secessionist struck first.
 

jgoodguy

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#43
With respect to cotton prices,https://krex.k-state.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/2097/14956/RickyDaleCalhoun2012.pdf?sequence=1 Mr. Calhoun presents the best collection of evidence.
The real price of cotton remained favorable, as the war time inflation was wrung out of the system. As production returned, and Texas gained railroads, the real price of cotton began to fall, and since it was supporting a larger population, and more inputs of all types.
After 1879 the real price of cotton stagnated or fell.
Slaves would not have been secure collateral much longer in the US and certainly insecure in Texas, Arkansas and Missouri.
From your source--Thanks
One can see the death knell of a hypothetical independent CSA in these figures with the cold fingers of the dismal science around its neck.
1552839894996.png
 

WJC

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#45
Then thank you for your response. Anyone who puts forth an argument that the value of the means of production continues to rise when what is being produced is falling in value doesn't know what he's talking about.

When it happens, it's normally referred to as a "bubble." All of them burst, always.

This is a history forum, mind you.
Thanks for your response.
So far as I can tell (and I am sure you agree), this thread concerns economic history.
As to the conclusions of Fogel and Engerman (and others), if you disagree, please provide your counterargument. Thus far all we have is their argument based on their research, on the one hand, opposed by namecalling without evidence on the other.
 

WJC

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#46
There seems to be a misconception among some here that the price of slaves (had slavery legally continued after 1860) would only be dependent upon the price of cotton.
That assumes that no other use could be found for slave labor except in agriculture- particularly the commercial growing and marketing of cotton.
Yet we know that slaves were used in other economic pursuits, including construction, mining, shipping and transportation. These were all areas that enjoyed great growth through the 19th Century, so there is no reason to suggest slave labor would not have been used, thus providing an increase in the value of the slave.
It is noteworthy, for example, that in the antebellum, the labor force of the fourth largest iron manufacturer in the nation and the largest in the South, the Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond, frequently was half slaves.
 

johan_steele

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#48
Why is there a consistent belief that slaves were only capable of working cotton? Traditionally slaves have been used for everything and anything that would produce coin. This was true in ancient Rome as well as the antebellum period. Pretty much of it required manual labor a slave could do it. If it required real skill a slave could do it from skilled trades such as blacksmith and such to working a mine... etc ad nauseum.
 

jgoodguy

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#50
Why is there a consistent belief that slaves were only capable of working cotton? Traditionally slaves have been used for everything and anything that would produce coin. This was true in ancient Rome as well as the antebellum period. Pretty much of it required manual labor a slave could do it. If it required real skill a slave could do it from skilled trades such as blacksmith and such to working a mine... etc ad nauseum.
The South was unhealthy for whites but OK for blacks.
 
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#51
Why is there a consistent belief that slaves were only capable of working cotton? Traditionally slaves have been used for everything and anything that would produce coin. This was true in ancient Rome as well as the antebellum period. Pretty much of it required manual labor a slave could do it. If it required real skill a slave could do it from skilled trades such as blacksmith and such to working a mine... etc ad nauseum.
Well, this thread is supposed to be about slaves as loan collateral, but you're right. Frederick Law Olmstead spent a cumulative five years traveling through the Antebellum South and wrote of slaves who were blacksmiths, gunsmiths, even accountants!

The mainstay, though, was cotton. Northern banks would lend against slaves, because of what they could produce and their value in the marketplace. As painful as this may be to many, it was the reality of the time and place.
 



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