The Cotton Economy and Slavery

What made cotton so desirable? In the 1790s Americas oldest crops, like tobacco, were depleting farmland and dropping in value. At the same time, the textile industry in Great Britain was exploding, creating enormous international demand for cotton clothing. Eli Whitney’s invention of the cotton gin, which easily separated cotton fiber from its seeds, was merely a motor for a global economic machine. Slavery was its fuel.

Many stakeholders benefited from the cotton economy — plantation owners in the South, banks in the North, shipping merchants, and the textile industry in Great Britain. Cotton transformed the United States, making fertile land in the Deep South, from Georgia to Texas, extraordinarily valuable. Growing more cotton meant an increased demand for slaves. Slaves in the Upper South became incredibly more valuable as commodities because of this demand for them in the Deep South. They were sold off in droves. This created a Second Middle Passage, the second largest forced migration in America’s history.

To feed “King Cotton,” more than a million African Americans were carried off into the Deep South. That’s two and a half times the number that were brought to the United States from Africa.

To learn more about the connection of cotton and slavery, tune in to PBS on October 29, 2013, 8-9 pm ET, for the premiere of episode two of The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Check the local listings on the broadcast schedule.

 

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  • GALLEXIE

    I SUPPORT BILL HR 40 FOR COMING GENERATIONS

    GIVEN THE RESENT STATEMENTS OF

    REINSTATING SLAVERY

    DEAR MR WHEELER ,Those statements made about slavery were thoughtless and insensitive, much more is expected from a congressman protecting the civil rights of all his citizens
    The racial climate in the USA has reached another level of disgrace and disrespect even towards our PRESIDENT.
    Members on congress need to watch “ROOTS’ AND Henry Louis Gates Jr. debuts his new documentary for PBS, ‘The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross’
    The noted scholar and author says the six-part series covers ‘the full complexity of the black experience,’ looking beyond slavery and into the lives and contributions of free blacks
    WE ARE HUMAN BEINGS with feelings and emotions
    your statement was that of a bigot and you need to APOLOGIZE to the community your statement effects.

    WE are still as a community suffering from racial hatred in 2013 honestly when does it END

    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/… SERIES

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkI0DLRUtSM WHO WOULD EVER WANT TO REINSTATE SUCH INHUMANE TREATMENT TOWARDS ANOTHER HUMAN BEING

    ONLY SOMEONE WHO COULD NOT EVER SEE THEIR CHILD TREATED WORSE THAN AN ANIMAL

  • GALLEXIE

    GALLEXIE

    • 9 minutes ago

    I SUPPORT BILL HR 40 FOR COMING GENERATIONS

    GIVEN THE RESENT STATEMENTS OF

    REINSTATING SLAVERY

    DEAR MR WHEELER ,Those statements made about slavery were thoughtless and insensitive, much more is expected from a congressman protecting the civil rights of all his citizens
    The racial climate in the USA has reached another level of disgrace and disrespect even towards our PRESIDENT.
    Members on congress need to watch “ROOTS’ AND Henry Louis Gates Jr. debuts his new documentary for PBS, ‘The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross’
    The noted scholar and author says the six-part series covers ‘the full complexity of the black experience,’ looking beyond slavery and into the lives and contributions of free blacks
    WE ARE HUMAN BEINGS with feelings and emotions
    your statement was that of a bigot and you need to APOLOGIZE to the community your statement effects.

    WE are still as a community suffering from racial hatred in 2013 honestly when does it END

    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/… SERIES

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v… WHO WOULD EVER WANT TO REINSTATE SUCH INHUMANE TREATMENT TOWARDS ANOTHER HUMAN BEING

    ONLY SOMEONE WHO COULD NOT EVER SEE THEIR CHILD TREATED WORSE THAN AN ANIMAL

  • Debra Bernard

    Please close this to comments.

  • Kavin Ross

    I just love this series I am spreading to everyone to tune in and LEARN!

  • Pat Somerville

    It is 2014 and we should not demonize White Men for what happen so many years ago. History is good to learn from if you take those examples and change for the better. I live in the City of Chicago and I am one of few white students at Chicago State University. There has been 189 homicide death year to date and 935 shot and wounded in Chicago. All black on black, there has been so much legislation passed to try to help the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King. You cannot blame White people, it is African Americans fault that they live the way they do. Racism sucks truth be told.

    source: http://heyjackass.com/category/2014-chicago-crime-murder-stats/

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