Cotton became a desirable commodity in
the 1800s because products such as tobacco were exhausting farmlands and losing
their value. The cotton economy in the 19th century benefited several
stakeholders, and they include; plantation owners, banks, shipping traders, and
the clothing industry of the Great Britain. It transformed the economy of United States of
America, and impacted the history of
U.S. (Gates, 2013).
of cotton and slavery
In this case, the fertile land located
in the Deep South, i.e., from Georgia to Texas became extremely valuable.
Increased growth of cotton brought about an increased need for slaves. Cotton
production was a labor- demanding business, which needed a large number of
workers to cultivate and harvest the product.
Thus, millions of slaves from Africa and upper south were forcefully
taken to the Deep South for cotton production. It was the second biggest forced
immigration in the history of the United States of America (Gates, 2013).
Demand for cotton
Unemployed undergraduate known as Eli
Whitney invented a cotton gin in 1793. The machine helped in cleaning cotton
and separating seeds from the fiber. Manufacturers created similar cotton gin,
which resulted in a boom in cotton production in the United States of America.
In this regard, the production of cotton grew from 156,000 bales in the year
1800 to 4 million bales in the year 1860. The cotton immense increase led to
the increased demand for slaves in the U.S. In this case, the number rose from
700,000 in the year 1790 to 4,000,000 in 1860. By the year 1860, the worldâ€™s most powerful
nation, the Great Britain had become the origin of the industrial revolution.
The major industry in the country was the cotton textiles. Out of 21 million of
Britainâ€™s total population, approximately 4 million depended on the cotton
textile industry. About 40% of the nationâ€™s exports were cotton fabrics.
Britain obtained 75% of the total amount of cotton from the United States of
America. Thus, cotton played a crucial role in the economy of America. North
Douglas, a Nobel- prize winner affirmed that cotton was the major cause of
Americaâ€™s economic expansion in the 19th Century. Between 1800 and
1860, over half of the United Statesâ€™ exports comprised of cotton. The cotton
market enabled America to borrow funds from overseas. It also cultivated an
enormous local trade between the Eastern and Western side of the nation, and,
therefore, strengthening the bond of the United States (Dattel, 2000).
Mississippi State obtained its
worldâ€™s recognition through the cotton economy in the 1800s. In the first half
of the 19th century, the world perceived Mississippi as the
epicenter of cotton production. The state was influenced by the increased
demand for cotton in Europe, and the commercial and financial dealings of New
York. The cotton and slave labor in Mississippi State played an essential role
in the determination of its economic and social histories (Dattel, 2000).
Between 1817 and 1860, the state of
Mississippi became the most vibrant and the largest cotton producer in the U.S.
The increased production of cotton resulted in an increase in the stateâ€™s
population. The population of the Caucasians grew from 5179 in the year 1800 to
353, 901 in the year 1860. In addition, the population of slaves rose from 3489
in 1800 to 436,631 in 1860. The production of cotton in Mississippi immensely
increased from zero in 1800 to 535.1 million pounds worth the product in the
year 1859. Mississippi and the neighboring statesâ€™- Western Georgia, Arkansas,
Louisiana, Alabama and Texas offered cheap land for the production of cotton. Cotton
attracted thousands of Caucasian men from North America, and individuals from
states situated along the Atlantic coast, who were interested in making a quick
fortune. In 1950, 25% of the total population in Louisiana and New Orleans was
from the North and 10% of Alabamaâ€™s population was from New York State (Dattel,
Cotton production and slave labor had an immense impact on the history of America. However, the civil war in America led to the end of slave labor. Even after liberation, the black Americans were still recognized with the production of cotton. Additionally, Mississippi State is still recognized globally as a major contributor of the cotton economy. Besides, the Great Britain influenced continents such as Asia to manufacture clothing textiles.
Dattel, E. R. (2000). Cotton in a global economy: Mississippi (1800-1860). Retrieved from
Gates, H. L. (2013). The cotton economy and slavery. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wnet/african-
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