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King Cotton: Monarch or Pretender? The State of the Market for Raw Cotton on the Eve of the American Civil War

David G. Surdam
The Economic History Review
New Series, Vol. 51, No. 1 (Feb., 1998), pp. 113-132
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Economic History Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2599694
Page Count: 20
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King Cotton: Monarch or Pretender? The State of the Market for Raw Cotton on the Eve of the American Civil War
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Abstract

Did the world demand for American-grown raw cotton fall during the 1860s, even though total demand for cotton increased? Previous researchers have asserted that the South faced stagnating or falling demand for its cotton. A more complete model of the world market for cotton, combined with additional data, shows that the reduction in the supply of American-grown cotton induced by the civil war distorts previous estimates of the state of demand for cotton. In the absence of the drastic disruption in the supply of American-grown cotton, the world demand for such cotton would have remained strong.

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