The Economics of Cotton

Review Questions

Which of the following was not one of the effects of the cotton boom?

  1. U.S. trade increased with France and Spain.
  2. Northern manufacturing expanded.
  3. The need for slave labor grew.
  4. Port cities like New Orleans expanded.



The abolition of the foreign slave trade in 1807 led to _______.

  1. a dramatic decrease in the price and demand for slaves
  2. the rise of a thriving domestic slave trade
  3. a reform movement calling for the complete end to slavery in the United States
  4. the decline of cotton production



Why did some southerners believe their region was immune to the effects of the market revolution? Why was this thinking misguided?


Some southerners believed that their region’s monopoly over the lucrative cotton crop—on which both the larger American and Atlantic markets depended—and their possession of a slave labor force allowed the South to remain independent from the market revolution. However, the very cotton that provided the South with such economic potency also increased its reliance on the larger U.S. and world markets, which supplied—among other things—the food and clothes slaves needed, the furniture and other manufactured goods that defined the southern standard of comfortable living, and the banks from which southerners borrowed needed funds.