Emancipation and Empire: Reconstructing theWorldwide Web of Cotton Production in the Age ofthe American Civil WarA Photo EssayBy Collin Lewis and Matt Fischer
1860- A map representing the locations of the highest production of cotton. Thesouthern United States made up for sometimes over 90 percent of cotton consumptionused in countries like France and Europe. Prior to 1861, almost all of the cotton used inthe industry came from slave labor plantations in the American South.
1895- A photograph of slaves picking cotton in a field, while a white overseer watchesfrom his horse. Slave labor was essential to the cotton industry, as the United Statesmade up a large percent of the hundreds of millions of pounds of cotton which made itsway around the world each year. Every person involved in the cotton industry relied onslaves, who were essentially the only source of cotton picking labor available.
March 14th, 1862- A political cartoon published in the Richmond Daily Dispatch wasmade to show English dependency and value of the United States cash crop. Thedepiction of the Englishmen worshipping “King Cotton” was meant to depict the relianceon the Southern United States’ cotton export.
1907- “King Cotton” a panoramic photo of a cotton plantation, published as a magazineadvertisement. “King Cotton” was used as a slogan to show the importance that U.S.Cotton had in the world market. The slogan was used to show support of slave laborplantations, establishing that cotton was too important of an industry to the United Statesto be disbanded by the Civil War.
1920- A group of African American workers pick cotton in a plantation field. After theCivil War, many former slaves continued to work on plantations for little pay. In anattempt to preserve the cotton industry of the United States, plantation owners wouldsometimes keep their “workers" in slave-like conditions, however would pay them asmall amount of money in order to be considered a job.
This is a table that shows us British cotton imports from different countries around the world. Ifshows us that right before the civil war, the U.S is clearly the dominant cotton producer.However, after the civil war, it is very evident the U.S production goes way down because slaveryhas been abolished. Also, other countries around the world have ramped upproduction, particularly India.
This picture is designed to show what the conditions were like for African Americans under theoppressive fetters of slavery before the civil war. Before the Industrial Revolution, all theintensive, rigorous work done to produce cotton suitable for daily tasks was done by slaves.They weren’t paid, given long, tiring hours, and treated awfully by white slave owners. TheIndustrial Revolution changed the way cotton was mass produced with all the new cotton millsmade.
This is a picture of the cotton mills that became a trademark in the new age of cottonproduction after the civil war. With the end of slavery also came the Industrial Revolution,where machinery became a part of the workplace. With this advance in technology, the workslaves did prior to the civil war was now able to be completed more efficiently.
This is a digital cartoon that sums up how cotton was used in America.Cotton is shown here to be the primary crop that is used by a diversegroup in the United States. It shows African Americans doing themanual labor to make and manufacture it for the white Americans to usein their everyday life. It was a cycle that America adapted to for solong, until the end of the civil war when the producers of cotton, orslaves, were freed, and they needed to find a new manufacturer ofcotton.
This picture is a chart depicting the distribution of cotton production all around the world in2010. Compared to where cotton was produced after the civil war in the Industrial RevolutionEra, cotton production today is much more spread out among nearly all the continents,including all different countries in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, andAustralia. Immediately after the Civil War, cotton was primarily produced in different parts ofEurope, Africa, and India.
Pictography" Southern U.S. cotton picking ." Library of Congress Home. N.p., n.d. Web.17 June 2013. <http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2012648381/>."King Cotton - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Wikipedia, the freeencyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 June 2013.<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Cotton>.., the honor of North-Carolina. May God defend the right! . .. " Causing theCivil War | Teachinghistory.org ." Teachinghistory.org . N.p., n.d. Web. 17June 2013. <http://teachinghistory.org/history-content/beyond-the-textbook/23912>."The American Civil War: March 14, 1862: Cotton and Ironclads." TheAmerican Civil War. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 June 2013. <http://www.civilwar-online.com/2012/03/march-14-1862-cotton-and-ironclads.html>.
Pictography"Cultural Landscape of Plantation--SLAVE TASKS." The George Washington University. N.p., n.d. Web.17 June 2013. <http://www.gwu.edu/~folklife/bighouse/panel9.html>.“Distribution of World Cotton Fibre Production.” Digital Chart. History ofCotton: Wikipedia. Accessed on 17 June 2013.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_cotton.John Gensor. “The Cotton Mill.” Photo. The Dawn of the Industrial Revolution in America: JohnGensorPhotography. Accessed on 17 June 2013. http://johngensorphotos.com/?tag=baltimore-and-ohio-railroad“Cotton Competition.” Digital Table. Useful Nineteenth Century Time Series Data. Accessed on 17June2013. http://facweb.furman.edu/~bensonlloyd/hst41/timeseries.htm“Cotton is King.” Digital Cartoon. Studio Up! Cotton is King – Interactive. Accessed on 17 June 2013.http://www.studioup.com/portfolio/?projects=cotton-is-king-interactive“Slaves Picking Cotton.” Digital Cartoon. This Honorable Body: African American Legislatures in 19thCentury Tennessee. Accessed on 17 June 2013. http://www.tennessee.gov/tsla/History/blackhistory/
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