James Hammond, a southerly plantation owner, and also U.S. Senator extolled southerly power. In his decided to the United states Senate on march 4, 1858, he put words to a long-brewing southerly philosophy: “Cotton is King.” 

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On march 4, 1858, Hammond told the Senate "Cotton is King."

“Without shoot a gun, without drawing a sword, should they make battle on us we could lug the whole world to our feet <…> What would occur if no cotton was furnished for 3 years? I will not protect against to depict what everyone deserve to imagine, yet this is certain: England would certainly topple headlong and carry the entirety civilized human being with her, conserve the South. No, friend dare not make war on cotton. No power on earth dares to make battle upon it. Noodle is king.” 

This philosophy emerged from economic debates in the 1850s. In the 1850 census, the South consisted of only 18% of the unified States" production capacity. Routinely, the south would market 70% of their raw cotton to the North and buy the North’s produced cotton products at a greater capital. In the early on 1850s, countless people listed below the Mason Dixon Line want to “throw off the degrading bind of our commercial dependence” and also increase the manufacturing ability of the South. In ~ the decade, rail currently were created between significant southern urban to rise the motion of goods. In addition, much more textile factories were created in the southern states and iron foundries, like Tredegar Iron functions in Richmond, demonstrated that industry can be performed on a huge scale in the region. However, Lowell, Massachusetts, operated more textile manufacturers than the entirety of the south in 1860 and also industry in the southern didn’t eclipse the growth of the industry in the north during the 1850s. 

While there to be a press for more industrialization, numerous gentlemen farmer of the Southern claims opposed the idea of increased southern industrialization. The South’s economy was built on farming production that cash-crops, which to be cotton, rice, indigo, and tobacco. The mass of benefit earned from these harvests was directed toward maintaining their social standing, and the salvation of much more slaves in bespeak to occupational the land and produce more crops.  

Between the North and also South, financial experts debating the financial superiority between “free” labor and “enslaved” labor. Supporters of “enslaved labor” likened enslavement come socialism. Slaves, countless argued, to be fed, clothed, and sheltered because that life regardless of the quantity of occupational they do. Children, who were also young to work, and also the elderly, that were as well old to work, were still “taken treatment of” top top the plantation. In contrast, people who deserve to not occupational in the northern capitalistic “free” culture would need to rely ~ above friends, families, and private companies to ensure castle were not hungry or homeless when unemployed. Pendant of “free” labor listed that individuals with “free enterprise” would certainly be more industrious due to the fact that they preferred to better themselves and gain much more capital and also argued the “enslaved” labor would certainly not feeling this exact same drive and, consequently, try to job-related as tiny as possible—a type of passive slave resistance.  




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Amongst these debates, the “Cotton is King,” of “King Cotton,” ide perforated right into the southerly consciousness. Elites believed that the North would bow to southerly demands due to the fact that of their reliance on Southern commodities in their production industry. This concept wasn’t constrained by national borders, the South thought that they could gain worldwide recognition because foreign markets, especially European markets, relied ~ above their southern goods.  

After the South asserted secession from the United claims of America and also created the Confederate says of America, lock sought global recognition the statehood in Europe. In February 1861, a commission headed by william L. Yancey was sent out to the united kingdom to garner support and military assist in the joined Kingdom. He failed and on might 13, 1861, Britain declared itself neutral. In this neutrality declaration, the united kingdom labeled the Confederacy as a “belligerent power.” while both the North and the South thought that this decision to be coded as assistance for the Confederacy with this wording choice, it was not. Instead, the was simply the definition that great Britain thought ideal described the Confederates who had written their very own constitution, mustered their very own army, and controlled a large portion of phibìc America.  

On April 19, 1861, the Union had created a blockade along the southern shores the had restricted but had not totally stopped southerly commerce. Several months later, the south enacted a self-embargo on southern goods destroying all commerce lines with international entities. This embargo started the diplomatic strategy “Cotton Diplomacy.” The Confederate government tasked James Mason of Virginia and John Slidell the Louisiana to take trip to England and also France respectively. Once there, the delegates to be to warning these international powers that they would never get Southern products again unless they offered international recognition to the Confederacy.   


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James Murray Mason (Left) and also John Slidell (Right) to be Confederate diplomats that attempted to acquire international recognition for the Confederacy

This diplomatic expedition was labeling the “Trent Affair” after Mason and also Slidell to be arrested onboard the RMS Trent by Union Captain Charles Wilkes on route to Europe. This arrest, and eventually imprisonment, angry Europe due to the fact that it violated worldwide neutrality laws. The North, after numerous weeks, exit the 2 Confederate diplomats and also condemned Wilkes’s actions, but did not officially apologize for the diplomat’s imprisonment. Mason and also Slidell, after getting to Europe, did not uncover sympathy in either England or France. The Confederacy was never officially well-known internationally. 

During the civil War, cotton gives in various other regions of the world started to flourish, together the self-imposed southern embargo backfired, together bales of cotton rotted ~ above docks and in warehouses. India, which to be under the dominion of Britain, enhanced its production of noodle by 70% in the 1860s. Brazilian cotton exports rose by 400% in this te from 12,000 come 60,000 loads annually. Egyptian cotton likewise increased the distribution. Over there were some commercial disruption and also unemployment in international cotton mills due to the fact that of the southern embargo, such as the disruption in occupational in north West England that caused the Lancashire cotton Famine. However, noodle manufacturing and also industry walk not prevent without these southern goods. Ironically, textile manufacturing grew after other cotton suppliers were found.  

The “Cotton is King” philosophy proved to be faulty. The international neighborhood did not require Southern raw goods for the manufacturing industry to survive.

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Alternate markets were uncovered without these countries entering a bloody Civil war or giving the Confederate states sovereignty. James Hammond’s prophecy did no come true: England did not “topple headlong” nor would the “whole polite world” go v her.