Cotton and Race in the Making of America: The Human Costs of Economic Power

Front Cover
Government Institutes, Sep 16, 2009 - History - 432 pages
Since the earliest days of colonial America, the relationship between cotton and the African-American experience has been central to the history of the republic. America's most serious social tragedy, slavery and its legacy, spread only where cotton could be grown. Both before and after the Civil War, blacks were assigned to the cotton fields while a pervasive racial animosity and fear of a black migratory invasion caused white Northerners to contain blacks in the South.

Gene Dattel's pioneering study explores the historical roots of these most central social issues. In telling detail Mr. Dattel shows why the vastly underappreciated story of cotton is a key to understanding America's rise to economic power. When cotton production exploded to satiate the nineteenth-century textile industry's enormous appetite, it became the first truly complex global business and thereby a major driving force in U.S. territorial expansion and sectional economic integration. It propelled New York City to commercial preeminence and fostered independent trade between Europe and the United States, providing export capital for the new nation to gain its financial "sea legs" in the world economy. Without slave-produced cotton, the South could never have initiated the Civil War, America's bloodiest conflict at home.

Mr. Dattel's skillful historical analysis identifies the commercial forces that cotton unleashed and the pervasive nature of racial antipathy it produced. This is a story that has never been told in quite the same way before, related here with the authority of a historian with a profound knowledge of the history of international finance. With 23 black-and-white illustrations.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Cotton And Race In The Making Of America
A great account of the travesty of the cotton trade and its demoralizing effect on both sides of the racial divide due to the god of profit. A true picture of
northern attitudes toward race is skillfully portrayed. A must read for those seeking truth about race in the nineteenth century. 

Contents

Slavery in the Making of the Constitution
3
Chapter 01 The Silent Issue at the Constitutional Convention
5
The Engine of American Growth 17871861
25
Chapter 02 Birth of an Obsession
27
Chapter 03 Land Expansion and White Migration to the Old Southwest
39
Chapter 04 The Movement of Slaves to the Cotton States
50
Chapter 05 The Business of Cotton
61
Chapter 06 The Roots of War
85
Chapter 16 Cotton and the Freedmen
209
The Racial Divide and Cotton Labor 18651930
219
Chapter 17 New Era Old Problems
221
Chapter 18 Ruling the Freedmen in the Cotton Fields
243
Chapter 19 Reconstruction Meets Reality
253
Chapter 20 The Black Hand on the Cotton Boll
266
The Chicago Experience
283
Cotton Without Slaves 18651930
291

The North For Whites Only 18001865
105
Chapter 07 Being Free and Black in the North
107
Chapter 08 The Colonial North
111
Chapter 09 Race Moves West
134
Chapter 10 Tocqueville on Slavery Race and Money in America
154
King Cotton Buys a War
161
Chapter 11 Cultivating a Crop Cultivating a Strategy
163
Chapter 12 Great Britain and the Civil War
177
Chapter 13 Cotton and Confederate Finance
184
Chapter 14 Procuring Arms
193
Chapter 15 Cotton Trading in the United States
201
Chapter 22 King Cotton Expands
293
Chapter 23 The Controlling Laws of Cotton Finance
302
Labor and Land
313
Chapter 25 The Planter Experience in the Twentieth Century
348
Chapter 26 The LongAwaited Mechanical Cotton Picker
352
Chapter 27 The Abdication of King Cotton
358
Appendix
367
Notes
373
Index
399
A NOTE ON THE AUTHOR
417
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2009)

Gene Dattel grew up in the cotton country of the Mississippi Delta and studied history at Yale and law at Vanderbilt. He then embarked on a twenty-year career in financial capital markets as a managing director at Salomon Brothers and at Morgan Stanley. A consultant to major financial institutions and to the Pentagon, he established a reputation as a foremost authority on Asian economies. His The Sun That Never Rose remains the definitive work on Japanese financial institutions in the 1980s. Mr. Dattel is now an independent scholar who lectures widely and has served as an adviser to the New York Historical Society and the B. B. King Museum. He lives in New York City. For more information, see www.genedattel.com.

Bibliographic information