“Cotton is King,” was a common phrase used to describe the growth of the American economy in the 1830s and 1840s. It was used to describe the plantation economy of the slavery states in the Deep South. It is important to understand that cotton was one of the world’s first luxury commodities, after sugar and tobacco.
Cotton was very profitable and was interconnected with the economies of cotton plantation and the Northern banking industry, New England textile factories and a huge proportion of the economy of Great Britain overlapped. Slaves were highly valued and slave produced cotton brought a lot of monetary gains.
The invention of the cotton gin increased the productivity of cotton harvesting by slaves. Higher profits increased demand for slaves. Cotton was the leading American export from 1803 to 1907. Until the beginning of the Civil War, New England’s economy depended hugely on the textile industry. If there was one ultimate cause of the Civil War, it was King Cotton — black-slave-grown cotton.
Source: Why Was Cotton ‘King’?
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