Q:

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

A:

Quick Answer

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.

Know More

Full Answer

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.

Learn more about US History

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What caused the War of 1812?

    A:

    The War of 1812 was caused by three grievances that the United States held toward Great Britain. The first two, the imposition of trade restrictions and forced recruitment of American sailors to the Royal Navy, were the result of broader British geopolitical interests, yet they ultimately affected America acutely. The final cause, Britain's arming of certain Native Americans, related directly to American ambitions for territorial expansion.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Who were the War Hawks?

    A:

    The War Hawks were a group of Jeffersonian Republican politicians who advocated declaring war on Great Britain in the first decade of the 19th century. They were largely successful in persuading other members of Congress, and on June 18, 1812 the United States declared war on Britain.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What event ended Reconstruction?

    A:

    The Compromise of 1876 and the removal of federal troops from the South by order of President Rutherford B. Hayes on May 1, 1877 ended Reconstruction. Reconstruction was the time between 1865 and 1877 when the federal government set the laws in which the southern states were allowed to be readmitted back into the United States. All former Confederate states were admitted back into the country by 1870.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What were the two sides in the American Civil War?

    A:

    The two sides involved in the American Civil War were the Union, which represented the North, and the Confederacy, which represented the South. There were numerous reason behind why each side's soldiers fought for one side or the other.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore