King Cotton and His Retainers: Financing and Marketing the Cotton Crop of the South, 1800-1925 King Cotton and His Retainers: Financing and Marketing the Cotton Crop of the South, 1800-1925
By Harold D. Woodman
2000/08 - Beard Books
1893122514 - Paperback - Reprint -  418 pp.

A stark reminder of the difficulties of financing a one-crop agrarian economy.

Publisher Comments

Category: Biographies & Memoirs | History

This title is part of the Business Histories list.

Although historians have acknowledged the dominant influence of cotton on the Southern economy, they have paid scant attention to the marketing of this staple crop. In this thorough study of the cotton factorage system of the old South and the post-Civil War crop lien system crop, the author reveals not only the economic intricacies of the systems, but also the far-reaching effects on Southern political and social life.

From Booknews  
Reprinted as a classic (with a new introduction by the author) despite its relatively recent date of original publication (1968, U. of Kentucky Press). As the first systematic examination of the middlemen who financed and marketed the region's all-important cotton crop, Woodman's has become the standard work on the subject. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

From Southern Classics,

A thorough study of the cotton factorage system of the Old South and the crop-lien system of the postwar era, King Cotton and His Retainers traces the economic, political, and social implications of the processes by which the dominant southern staple came to market. Harold D. Woodman's new introduction explains the context in which he wrote his authoritative monograph, outlines its connections to the historiography of the past three decades, and identifies promising opportunities for new research.

Harold D. Woodman is Professor Emeritus of History and American Studies and Program Chair from 1981-1993 at Purdue University

Preface vii
Acknowledgments xi
Part 1. The Cotton Factorage System 3
Chapter 1. The Rise of Cotton Factorage 8
Chapter 2.  Selling the Crop 15
Chapter 3.  Providing Plantation Supplies and Credit 30
Chapter 4.  Banker, Bookkeeper, and Friend 43
Chapter 5. Commissions, Service Charges and Internet 49
Chapter 6. Planter-Factor Relations: The Law, Tradition and Expediency 60
Part 2.  Storekeepers, Itinerants and Bankers: Attendants to the Factor 73
Chapter 7.  The Country Storekeepers 76
Chapter 8.  Itinerant Merchants 84
Chapter 9.  Bankers and Planters 98
Chapter 10.  Bankers and Factors 114
Part 3.  Cotton Marketing and the Southern Economy 127
Chapter 11. The Need for Credit 132
Chapter 12. The Dependent South 139
Chapter 13. Cotton Factors and Storekeepers in a Dependent South 154
Chapter 14. Bankers in a Dependent South 165
Chapter 15. The Costs and Risk of Cotton Marketing 176
Chapter 16. Cotton Factorage and Southern Economic Development: Conclusions 187
Part 4.  Wartime Cotton Trade 199
Chapter 17. Business, Not Quite as Usual 204
Chapter 18. Blockade-Running and Trade with the Enemy 217
Chapter 19. Internal Trade and Speculation 225
Chapter 20. Profits Realized and Profits Lost 235
Part 5. Economic Reconstruction 243
Chapter 21. The Return of King Cotton 246
Chapter 22. The Resurrection of the Cotton Factorage System 254
Chapter 23. The Decline of Cotton Factorage 269
Chapter 24. The Furnishing Merchant 295
Part 6. Cotton Marketing and the Economy 315
Chapter 25. An Agrarian "New South" 319
Chapter 26. The Farmer's Quest for Economic Independence 334
Chapter 27. The South Remains Dependent: Conclusions 345
Appendix 361
Bibliographical Notes 369
Index 375

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