The NHC and the Nation's First Sin

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1. What do Olmstead and Rhode say about slavery’s role in the Industrial Revolution?

Slavery played a significant role as laborers in the south of United States cotton plantation. According to Olmstead and Rhodes, slaves were used in the production of raw cotton not willingly but through coerced labor on lands taken from indigenous persons. Moreover, slaves working at the southern plantations were the real catalyst of world development. Slavery was the most preferred source of labor in South America because it was cost friendly. The above was witnessed in India where they Indians preferred human labor as they considered it cheaper compared to policies enacted after the civil wars by the British government in the 1860s.

2. How does the Texas example counter the NHC claim that Southern cotton imports/demand controlled British foreign policy?

Texas example counters the NHC claim through the British initiative to settle the relationship between Texas and Mexico linked to the abolition of slavery as a common denominator. Nonetheless, Texas planters denied and pushed efforts to unite with the United States. Therefore British policy imperatives ran counter to the NHC determined focus on slavery as vital for cotton production. Nevertheless, NHC was held on the idea of southern cotton production through slaves.

Texas was independent as it would have invented an alternative source of cotton outside US control contrary to slavery.

3. What happened with Southern cotton production after the Civil War and why is this a problem for the NHC?

After the Civil war, the United States produced a lot of cotton. Five years later after the end of civil war, production of cotton approached the peak antebellum levels, and by the year 1889, the US output was double the highest level ever attained in the pre-war duration. The above was a problem to the NHC because it brought about the emergence of coercive policies which did not work in favor of the NHC as they relied on coercive labor cotton production. Cotton capitalists were forced to look for new means to mobilize cotton growing labor which forced NHC to their revolution.

Freedmen and landowners were affected with the new systems of the labor organization as it led to the genesis of share-cropping accompanied with many state and local attempts to force laborers. The end of slavery greatly expanded the potential cotton labor demand due to the massive number of whites tailored in the South's postwar cotton fields.

4. What is the single most surprising oversight that Olmstead and Rhodes criticize the NHC about?

The single most surprising oversight criticized is; Beckert, Baptists, and Johnson idea that antebellum cotton South was the force to National expansion. The above hypothesis had been rigorously proved and rejected countless times. Economic History literature refers to it as the Cotton staple growth theory. The oversight was disqualified by the North economic historian.

The North economic historian argued that though cotton was widely recognized as the number one US export in the antebellum period, the export alone represented less than 10 % of the State's total income. Moreover, cotton was not even the US most essential agricultural commodity in value terms. Hay and small grains took together were typical of higher value compared to cotton.

5. What does this article tell history students about the historical scholarship/research?

The article tells history students the legacies of the Nation's first sin. The above is correct as the article tend to show powerful slavery effect on the society of America, the misery it brought and its harmful impact on troubled American history regarding racial relationships. The article further tells history students on the causes of civil war, southern white supremacy governments policies and NHC past injustice and divergence.

The article tries to tell the history that even though the slave system was an effective means to produce cotton, it was not the only way. It was a national catastrophe that repressed economic development in the long run. Though, the article fails to provide history student with an understanding of the underlying technological and production realities of plantation cotton economy.

6. What was the South’s share of British cotton imports in 1850?

South's share of British cotton imports in 1850 was 67% of the total cotton imports in pounds. But Arkansas, Missouri, Texas, and Florida grew less than 15 % of the American cotton in 1850.

7. Does the historical evidence comport with the notion that the antebellum Cotton South drove national expansion? Is the Cotton Staple Growth Theory accurate?

The historical evidence does not comport with the notion that the above idea. The above is because the hypothesis has been proposed severally and rejected. The rejection has been under the literature commonly known as staple cotton growth hypothesis. Similar arguments included; Douglass North and Johnson but were objected by North fellow new economist. The economist established the inaccuracy of the theory through a practical example. The economists found that cotton was leading US export and export contributed less than a tenth of US National Income.

Other than the above, cotton was not even the Nation's most essential agricultural trade good in regards to value. However, the distinction always went to corn as a critical commodity. The national cost of hay and small grains were even higher than that of cotton.

8. What do you think is the most significant point of criticism against Baptist's Half Has Never Been Told?

The most significant point against Baptist's Half has never been told it is the first slavery had not produced progressive improvement in labor productivity. The above was contradicting because on the nineteenth-century cotton boundary enslavers found more production from every enslaved person each year. Even though Baptist's innovation of developed slave torture mechanisms became prominent it endangered slaves health state. Therefore the above notion is subject to criticism as it decreased salves efficiency because of numerous injuries from innovated techniques of torture.

Furthermore, the innovations made by Baptist's produces no tangible evidence that violence against slaves elevated between 1800 to 1860 and gave no indication of any significant changes in hostility. Baptist's fiction that slaves called his innovation "the pushing system" policies were not a common feature of slave administration.

November 13, 2023


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