Saturday, April 07, 2007


Am I crazy? Doesn't every book I've ever read about the antebellum south go on and on about how destructive cotton is of the soil?

And then I read this:
[The westward expansion of the cotton belt], from inferior to superior soil, has given rise to greatly exaggerated conceptions of the extent of soil exhaustion and erosion in the Southeast. Cotton is not in fact a highly exhaustive crop, and the gutted, windswept hills of the Piedmont, so vividly described by Olmstead and De Bow, were as much the result of abandonment as its cause.

The accompanying footnote cites a number of technical articles "[o]n the relatively small demands made by cotton upon the plant food of the soil in comparison with other crops."

Gavin Wright, The Political Economy of the Cotton South: Households, Markets, and Wealth in the Nineteenth Century (New York: W.W. Norton & Co. 1978) at 17.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your attempt to drive the cotton issue far away from the truth.
    Calhoun wedged a fight between the south and north over the cotton tax. it was hardest on the south, and calhoun and his jesuit cronies used it to create a purpose to succeed from the North.


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