[Marxism] The Role Cotton Played in the 1800s Economy | African American History Blog | The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Apr 5 16:09:26 MDT 2018

(But because those palm-leaf hats were made by free people, they were 
more important.)

And, finally, New England? As Ronald Bailey shows, cotton fed the 
textile revolution in the United States. “In 1860, for example, New 
England had 52 percent of the manufacturing establishments and 75 
percent of the 5.14 million spindles in operation,” he explains. The 
same goes for looms. In fact, Massachusetts “alone had 30 percent of all 
spindles, and Rhode Island another 18 percent.” Most impressively of 
all, “New England mills consumed 283.7 million pounds of cotton, or 67 
percent of the 422.6 million pounds of cotton used by U.S. mills in 
1860.” In other words, on the eve of the Civil War, New England’s 
economy, so fundamentally dependent upon the textile industry, was 
inextricably intertwined, as Bailey puts it, “to the labor of black 
people working as slaves in the U.S. South.”


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