King Cotton

Allison Menasco 7th period

About King Cotton

King Cotton , phrase frequently used by Southern politicians and authors prior to the American Civil War, indicating the economic and political importance of cotton reproduction. AFter the invention of the cotton gin (1793), cotton suprassed tobacco as the dominant cash crop in the agricultural eocnomy of the south, soon comprising more than half the total U.S. exports.


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The Concept of King Cotton

The concept of “King Cotton” was first suggested in David Christy’s book Cotton is King. Convinced of the supremacy of its commodity at home and abroad, the South was confident of success if secession from the Union should lead to war. On the floor of the U.S. Senate, Senator James H. Hammond declaimed (March 4, 1858): “You dare not make war upon cotton! No power on earth dares make war upon it. Cotton is king.”


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