King Cotton

By:Janajha Walker 1st period

What was king cotton?

Cotton production in Texas incresed dramatically from 1840 to 1860. Moving the counterweight on this interactive exhibit causes the lever to point to the number of bales of cotton produced during that year. Real cotton bales were weighed on devices.

More information

To demonstrate the power of King Cotton southern cotton merchants spontaneously refused to ship out their cotton in early 1861; it was not a government decision. By summer 1861, the Union blockade shut down over 95% of exports. Since the Europeans had large stockpiles of cotton, they were not immediately injured by the boycott; indeed the value of their stockpiles went up. For Britain to intervene meant war with the U.S. and a cutoff of food supplies, so it did not intervene. Consequently, the strategy proved a failure for the Confederacy—King Cotton did not help the new nation.