Q:

Why was the South's strategy called the King Cotton diplomacy?

A:

Confederate states attempted to intentionally withhold cotton from Great Britain and France in order to coerce these nations to enter the war on the side of the South, according to the Mississippi Historical Society. Cotton was the main staple of the Confederacy's economy and the United States' largest export during the time of the Civil War.

Great Britain declared its neutrality with regards to the U.S. Civil War in May 1861. In response to this declaration, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and southern leaders declared an informal cotton embargo on Britain. King Cotton diplomacy started when planters burned 2.5 million bales of cotton to create a cotton shortage. Southern plantations exported more than three million bales of cotton to Europe in 1860, so burning the bales cut more than 80 percent of those exports.

Tensions between northern and southern states escalated for years ahead of the war. English companies, however, still possessed a surplus of cotton that they had amassed during the 1850s. The price of cotton did not go up until 1863, when prices went from 10 cents per pound in 1860 to $1.89 per pound three years later. To prevent further price hikes, Britain found new suppliers of cotton after the war started.

The Confederacy still used cotton to borrow money from British and French banks. Historians believe that King Cotton diplomacy ultimately failed because the surplus cotton could have been used to finance the Confederacy instead of trying to destabilize Europe's economy.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    What is the definition of "King Cotton diplomacy?"

    A:

    King Cotton diplomacy is a term that describes the Confederate States of America's approach to foreign policy and diplomacy during the Civil War. Cotton was the Confederacy's one major asset going into the war, and they used this asset to attempt to gain a diplomatic advantage in Europe.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How did the cotton gin lead to the Civil War?

    A:

    Eli Whitney's invention of the cotton gin helped lead to the Civil War by making it possible to produce more cotton, thus increasing the profitability of huge cotton plantations in the South. These large plantations needed large numbers of workers in order to operate. Slavery helped meet those needs.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What were the Southern advantages in the Civil War?

    A:

    The main advantages that the South held during the civil war were the vast ranks of experienced generals and soldiers, along with the benefit of being able to maintain defensive positions. While the North had far more resources and population, in order to unite the country, President Abraham Lincoln had to take the offensive to defeat the Southern rebellion.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Which two countries fought in the war of 1812?

    A:

    The two countries that fought the War of 1812 were Great Britain and the United States. The war's main causes were British trade restrictions against the U.S. and the forced impressment of American sailors by the British Royal Navy.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore