The many people who gained wealth from cotton were willing to disregard the indications that a one-crop economy could not be sustained.
Planters ignored the fact that King Cotton was hard on the soil, especially with the frenzied harvesting that was taking place during this era.
This thriving cotton industry led to the rise of large-scale commercial agriculture.
Not only did increased cotton milling result in an increased numbers of slaves, but planters also worked to augment their land ownership to make more money.
With the development of the cotton “gin” (short for engine), cotton rapidly surpassed tobacco, rice, and sugar as the number one southern crop.
Cotton production increased 800% over the next ten years with assistance from Whitney’s invention.
This small group of people carried significant political and social power.
Southern aristocrats used their wealth to send their children to the finest schools, which were often in the north or overseas.
The motto of Southerners became “Cotton is King,” and they were happy to serve a ruler who provided such prosperity.
Southerners were not the only ones benefiting from the cotton boom.