Excerpt from Cotton is King

Book Excerpt

Transcription of Primary Source

On how the North and the West need and support the economics of slavery:

The increase of mechanics and manufacturers at the North, and the expansion of Slavery at the South, therefore, augment the markets for provisions, and promote the prosperity of the farmer. As the mechanical population increases, the implements of husbandry, and articles of furniture, are multiplied, so that both farmer and planter can be supplied with them on easier terms. As foreign nations open their markets to cotton fabrics, increased demands, for the raw material, are made. As new grazing and grain-growing States are developed, and teem with their surplus productions, the mechanic is benefited, and the planted, relieved from food-raising, can employ his slaves more extensively upon cotton. It is thus that our exports are increased; our foreign commerce advanced; the home markets of the mechanic and farmer extended, and the wealth of the nation promoted. It is thus, also, that the Free labor of the country finds remunerating markets for its products—though at the expense of serving as an efficient auxiliary in the extension of Slavery!

But more. So speedily are new grain-growing States springing up; so vast is the territory owned by the United States, ready for settlement; and so enormous will soon be the amount of products demanding profitable markets, that the national government has been seeking new outlets for them, upon our own continent, to which, alone, they can be advantageously transported. That such outlets, when our vast possessions, Westward, are brought under cultivation, will be an imperious necessity, is known to every statesman. The farmers of these new States, after the example of those of the older sections of the country, will demand a market for their products. This can be furnished, only, by the extension of Slavery.


On Great Britain’s dependence on Southern cotton:

That we have not overstated her [Great Britain’s] dependence upon our Slave labor for cotton, is a fact of world-wide notoriety […] the London Economist quotes as follows:

“Let any great social or physical convulsion visit the United States, and England would feel the shock from Land’s End to John O’Groats. The lives of nearly two millions of our countrymen are dependent upon the cotton crops of America; their destiny may be said, without any kind of hyperbole, to hang upon a thread. Should any dire calamity befall the land of cotton, a thousand of our merchant ships would rot idly in dock, ten thousand mills must stop their busy looms; two thousand thousand mouths would starve, for lack of food to feed them.”


Curator Notes

Exact Title: 
Cotton is King; or, the Culture of Cotton, and its Relation to Agriculture, Manufactures and Commerce: To the free colored people; and to those who hold that slavery is in itself sinful.
Christy, David
Place of Publication: 
Cincinnati, OH
American Antiquarian Society
Catalog Code: 
E455 C556 C855