Mississippi’s 1830s cotton bubble: An excerpt from Flush Times and Fever Dreams: A Story of Capitalism and Slavery in the Age of Jackson.

How a Cotton Bubble in 1830s Mississippi Revealed the Cracks in the Slave Economy

How a Cotton Bubble in 1830s Mississippi Revealed the Cracks in the Slave Economy

Our defining institution, in nine lives.
July 9 2015 12:27 PM

The Slave Bubble

Reckless cotton speculation in 1830s Mississippi revealed the cracks in the slave economy.

This article supplements Episode 5 of the History of American Slavery, our inaugural Slate Academy. Please join Slate’s Jamelle Bouie and Rebecca Onion for a different kind of summer school. To learn more and to enroll, visit Slate.com/Academy.

Excerpted from Flush Times and Fever Dreams: A Story of Capitalism and Slavery in the Age of Jackson by Joshua D. Rothman. Published by the University of Georgia Press.

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Andrew Jackson in 1824.

Painting by Thomas Sully. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

The early 1830s were stirring times for many Americans. They lived in a country enjoying material prosperity and expansive growth, the likes of which had not been seen since the years right after the end of the War of 1812.

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These were flush times, and the sense that nearly anyone might dip into a virtually limitless pool of money and acquire credit with few questions asked made for a heady atmosphere. Countless Americans dreamed that anything was possible for those willing to hustle.1

No part of the country was more flush than what was then its southwestern frontier, because western Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and eastern Louisiana possessed some of the most fertile soil on the continent for growing cotton. With the demand for the crop from the textile industries practically insatiable and average New Orleans prices for it increasing by 80 percent during the first half of the 1830s, the forced removal of tens of thousands of Native Americans from millions of acres of prime southwestern cotton land dovetailed with federal provisions that set initial prices of public land at just $1.25 an acre to create a frenzy of migration, investment, and agricultural production. Already vital to the American economy by the start of the 1830s, over the course of the decade cotton crops accelerated national economic development, furthered the rising position of the United States as a global power, and cemented cotton’s place as the most significant commodity on Earth.2

In Mississippi, the removal of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians between 1830 and 1832 opened the floodgates to white settlement of the northern half of the state of Mississippi. The national government sold more than 1 million acres of public land in Mississippi in 1833 alone, twice as much as it sold in any other state. In 1835 the government sold nearly 3 million acres, which was more public land than had been sold in the entire country just a few years earlier.3

Capital came pouring into Mississippi as well. The number of banks incorporated in the state grew from one in 1829 to 13 in 1837. Most had multiple branches, and their collective volume of loans bulged from just over $1 million to more than $15 million, seemingly with good reason. The nearly 75,000 white people who moved to Mississippi between 1830 and 1836 doubled the state’s white population and provided an eager market for that money. Moreover, their ability to pay back what they borrowed appeared beyond question. In 1834 Mississippians produced 85 million pounds of cotton, a more than eightfold increase over the amount they had produced less than 15 years earlier. In 1836 they brought more than 125 million pounds to market, and by 1839 the Mississippi cotton crop amounted to nearly 200 million pounds, at which point Mississippians grew almost a quarter of America’s cotton.4

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Because cotton had the potential to yield returns very quickly, and the efflorescence of banks made Mississippi a place where, as one man observed in 1836, “credit is plenty, and he who has no money can do as much business as he who has,” nearly anyone able to procure even a small piece of land could indulge the belief that he was on the road to success. It was no coincidence that the 1832 state constitution, which replaced the original 1817 charter crafted when Mississippi achieved statehood, was among the most democratic in the country. Mississippi’s growing population and its economic dynamism both reflected and reinforced broader cultural and political trends such that it epitomized the vaunted white male democracy of the age.5

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The dazzling plenty of the flush times, however, could not entirely blind Americans to troubling attendant realities. If the Southwest exemplified the energetic optimism and seemingly limitless potential of the era, it also crystallized the dangerous volatility and unnerving doubts that would ultimately undo it.

In the Southwest, Americans built a culture of speculation unique in its abandon. Joseph Baldwin, a young lawyer from Virginia who came to the region in 1836, recalled literally sensing a shift in the economic environment as he rode into it. Contrasting the “picayune standard” of the East with “the wild spendthriftism, the impetuous rush and the magnificent scale of operations” of the Southwest, Baldwin noted that “the new country seemed to be a reservoir, and every road leading to it a vagrant stream of enterprise and adventure.” With cotton prices continuing to rise regardless of the volume placed on the market, none of the usual rules of business and finance appeared to apply. “Money, or what passed for money,” Baldwin remembered, was the “only cheap thing to be had,” and real estate costs “rose like smoke.” It barely mattered whether a person even wanted to grow cotton or participate directly in the land bonanza, as men accumulated “paper fortunes” without ever girdling a tree or touching a plow and imagined instant riches at “every cross-road and every avocation.”6

James Davidson, a lawyer traveling through the state late in 1836, considered the speculative enthusiasms of Mississippians unsustainable, confiding to his diary that there would be “a tremendous failure here some day, and that not far hence.” Baldwin, who lived in Mississippi for more than a year, also worried that delusion had supplanted reason and concluded that the craze was an irrational “hell-carnival” where “avarice and hope joined partnership” and everything stood “on its head with its heels I the air.” Somewhat more concretely, one newspaper editor devoted nearly a dozen articles in the summer and fall of 1836 to an extended assault on the state’s banking system, contending that financial malfeasance and corruption underlay bank operations so profoundly that Mississippi would surely be ruined without reform.7

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Skepticism about such abundance was not unwarranted. The titanic battle over the Bank of the United States not only highlighted the fragility of credit markets and their vulnerability to shifting political winds, but Andrew Jackson’s humbling of the bank also effectively destroyed whatever regulatory influence it had exercised over the broader economy. State and local bankers in Mississippi ran wild with their newfound freedom, so much so that Mississippi’s affluence by the middle of the 1830s rested in significant measure on a series of bookkeeping fictions. Often having just a small fraction of their capital in hand, banks counted money stockholders committed as if they had already paid it in, printed notes and issued credit on promised rather than actual holdings, and routinely provided sweetheart loans to institution officers and political cronies. Public land sales further distorted bank operations, as purchasers used paper money borrowed from banks to buy cheap land from the federal government, which redeposited the funds back into those same banks, which then loaned that same money out over and over again, creating ever greater speculative momentum.8

Indeed, had more Mississippians possessed the circumspection to wonder how long the unlikely combination of increasingly high cotton prices and increasingly large cotton crops could possibly continue, or the basic concern that the flush times might suddenly end, the debt-fueled delirium of the era might never have come into being at all.

Instead of fearing the possible fallout, however, most came to the Southwest believing that lives of hardscrabble obscurity could be easily transformed into lives of influence and standing, that opportunity was lost to those who hesitated, that great risks yielded great rewards, and that failure always happened to someone else. Still, experience taught all but the most enthusiastic migrants that not everything was as promised on the cotton frontier.

Cultural anxieties nagged as ambition and the pursuit of self-interest shaded into rapacious greed, economic speculation courted fiscal recklessness and resembled the morally questionable practice of gambling, and the sense that staggering wealth might be acquired quickly without much in the way of productive work undermined the notion that success came from diligence and frugality. Politics evolved as an insider game in which jockeying for access to capital and the levers of power often trumped ideological or partisan commitment, and personal recriminations among members of protean cliques could descend into bloodshed. The social terrain of

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the Southwest offered little more psychological mooring. The institutions or customs that might have instilled civility and order were weak or nonexistent, and appearances were often deceptive, allowing the brash, the crafty, the venal, and the predatory to thrive. Fast-talking lawyers manipulated barely functioning courts for their own benefit; surrogates for land speculators bullied settlers to get what they wanted; and swindlers, counterfeiters, horse thieves, and bandits of all stripes worked their own angles. Like all perceptive satirists, Alabama’s Johnson Jones Hooper captured an essential truth about the prevailing ethic of the Southwest in the flush times with the maxim that guided his fictional creation, Simon Suggs: “It is good to be shifty in a new country.”9

Every white man intending to plant cotton in Mississippi aimed to own slaves, and those who already owned some aimed to increase their holdings. But the explosive growth of slavery in Mississippi and throughout the Southwest also significantly aggravated the instabilities of the cotton frontier.

Thousands of white Mississippians financed slave purchases much as they bought everything else—by borrowing against anticipated cotton production. Slaveholders also mortgaged slave property bought on credit to provide security for additional loans, and sometimes then used those loans to purchase even more slaves. This was a tremendous piling of debt upon debt, the obligations for which were to be fulfilled by crops that had yet to be planted and worked by coerced laborers who effectively paid with their sweat for their own enslavement.10

Had the enslaved been as sound and reliable an investment in practice as they were in theory, such financial leveraging might have been sensible and even shrewd. But Mississippians who bought bondspersons from slave traders had to assess the value of their most crucial assets on the basis of limited information, relying mostly on the assurances of traders that the enslaved people offered as merchandise were healthy and submissive, possessed of solid work habits, and legally acquired. And none of those things was necessarily true.

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Instead, as white migrants re-created slavery along the frontier, the insalubrious climate and harsh work regime led to high death rates and considerable resistance among immiserated slaves, most of whom had been stolen from their families and communities. Title fraud was widespread, and traders sometimes lied about the fitness of the slaves they sold or concealed histories of rebelliousness.

White Southerners expressing disdain for slave traders commonly referred to them as “negro speculators.” Yet when white Mississippians purchased slaves from traders they were no less profoundly involved in speculation, their collective borrowing of tens of millions of dollars heightening the economic and social contingencies inherent in building a property regime grounded in human chattel.11

Whites on Mississippi’s cotton frontier could never be sure that the enslaved who outnumbered them and on whom they depended to lift them out of debt were not also plotting against their lives and livelihoods. They could never even be sure that other white people shared their priorities for securing property rights and racial dominance or whether they were deceitful schemers who reveled in the frontier’s very lack of order.

Dangerous and chaotic though the Southwest was, it did ultimately retain hierarchies among white people. Just about anyone could borrow his way to the top, but slaveholders and other wealthy and politically connected men still held sway and were willing to act ruthlessly should anything or anyone endanger the delicate equilibrium of their surroundings. An unsteady and unstable amalgam of divergent and contradictory interests, the Southwest in the flush times was defined as much by suspicion, fraud, and extraordinary levels of violence as by opportunity, confidence, and enterprise.

Trends like these were hardly confined to the Southwest. Nearly everywhere in the United States, demographic shifts and population movements exposed Americans to unfamiliar people of indeterminate credibility. Engagement in an expanding market economy entailed trusting faceless forces that few thoroughly understood, and the temptations of easy money created epidemics of speculation that leery commentators feared would ruin the minds and finances of those they touched.

Making the economic, cultural, and social apprehensions of the era more acute in a place like Mississippi was not merely the stampede created by the availability of so much land from which so much profit might be extracted. It was the fact that everything white Americans envisioned for the future there depended on the successful extension of slavery.12

Excerpt from Flush Times and Fever Dreams: A Story of Capitalism and Slavery in the Age of Jackson by Joshua D. Rothman. Reprinted with permission from the University of Georgia Press.

1The boom years of the 1830s were thus a product both of the specific financial circumstances and bank politics of that decade and of longer and more general trends related to accelerated market development that characterized the United States during the first half of the nineteenth century. The most recent synthesis of the historiography of the so- called market revolution is John Lauritz Larson, The Market Revolution in America: Liberty, Ambition, and the Eclipse of the Common Good (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009); the most provocative expression of the market revolution thesis remains Charles Sellers, The Market Revolution: Jacksonian America, 1815–1846 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991). Useful essay collections engaging various components and implications of the era’s economic developments include Melvyn Stokes and Stephen Conway, eds., The Market Revolution in America: Social, Political, and Religious Expressions, 1800–1880 (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1996); and Scott C. Martin, ed., Cultural Change and the Market Revolution in America, 1789–1860 (Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield, 2005). Valuable as a short introduction to the subject is Sean Wilentz, “Society, Politics, and the Market Revolution, 1815–1848,” in The New American History, rev. and exp. ed., ed. Eric Foner, 61–84 (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1997). A number of historians have criticized the entire notion of the market revolution as an analytical construct; for example, Daniel Feller, “The Market Revolution Ate My Homework,” Reviews in American History 25, no. 3 (1997): 408–15; and Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815–1848 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007). Howe concedes that “markets expanded vastly in the years after the end of the War of 1812” even as he argues that “their expansion partook more of the nature of a continuing evolution than a sudden revolution” (5). The literature on Jacksonian- era banking and fi nance is nearly as daunting as that on the broader market economy. Useful works on the development of the American banking sector, the “war” over the rechartering of the Second National Bank, and the liberalization of credit that ramped up amid its defunding include Howard Bodenhorn, A History of Banking in Antebellum America: Financial Markets and Economic Development in an Era of Nation- Building (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000); Ralph C. H. Catterall, The Second Bank of the United States (Chicago, 1902); J. Van Fenstermaker, The Development of American Commercial Banking, 1782–1837 (Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Bureau of Economic and Business Research, 1965); Bray Hammond, Banks and Politics in America (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1957), esp. chs. 10–15; John M. McFaul, The Politics of Jacksonian Finance (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1971); Reginald Charles McGrane, The Panic of 1837: Some Financial Problems of the Jacksonian Era (New York, 1924); Robert V. Remini, Andrew Jackson and the Bank War (New York: W. W. Norton, 1967); Larry Schweikart, Banking in the American South from the Age of Jackson to Reconstruction (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1987); William G. Shade, Banks or No Banks: The Money Issue in Western Politics, 1832–1865 (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1972); Walter Buckingham Smith, Economic Aspects of the Second Bank of the United States (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1953); Peter Temin, The Jacksonian Economy (New York: W. W. Norton, 1969); and Jean Alexander Wilburn, Biddle’s Bank: The Crucial Years (New York: Columbia University Press, 1967).

2Lewis Cecil Gray, History of Agriculture in the Southern United States to 1860, vol. 2 (Washington, D.C., 1933), 898–901, 1027. For one recent exploration of cotton’s global significance and the role the United States played, see Sven Beckert, “Cotton: A Global History,” in Interactions: Transregional Perspectives on World History, ed. Jerry H. Bentley, Renate Bridenthal, and Anand A. Yang, 48–63 (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2005). Also see Brian Schoen, The Fragile Fabric of Union: Cotton, Federal Politics, and the Global Origins of the Civil War (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009). Important works on post- Revolutionary settlement and economic development in the Southwest include Carolyn Earle Billingsley, Communities of Kinship: Antebellum Families and the Settlement of the Cotton Frontier (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2004); Joan E. Cashin, A Family Venture: Men and Women on the Southern Frontier (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991); Thomas C. Clark and John D. W. Guice, Frontiers in Conflict: The Old Southwest, 1795–1830 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1989); William C. Davis, A Way through the Wilderness: The Natchez Trace and the Civilization of the Southern Frontier (New York: Harper Collins, 1995); Everett Dick, The Dixie Frontier: A Social History of the Southern Frontier from the First Transmontaine Beginnings to the Civil War (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1948); Don H. Doyle, Faulkner’s County: The Historical Roots of Yoknapatawpha (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001), esp. 23–156; Daniel S. DuPre, Transforming the Cotton Frontier: Madison County, Alabama, 1800–1840 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1997); Libby, Slavery and Frontier Mississippi; James David Miller, South by Southwest: Planter Emigration and Identity in the Slave South (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 2002); John Hebron Moore, The Emergence of the Cotton Kingdom in the Old Southwest: Mississippi, 1770–1860 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1988); Christopher Morris, Becoming Southern: The Evolution of a Way of Life, Warren County and Vicksburg, Mississippi, 1770–1860 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995); James Oakes, The Ruling Race: A History of American Slaveholders (New York: Vintage, 1982); Malcolm J. Rohrbough, The Trans- Appalachian Frontier: People, Societies, and Institutions, 1775–1850 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978), esp. chs. 8, 11, 12; and Adam Rothman, Slave Country: American Expansion and the Origins of the Deep South (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005).

3Malcolm Rohrbough, The Land Office Business: The Settlement and Administration of American Public Lands, 1789–1837 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1968), 226–32; Edwin Arthur Miles, Jacksonian Democracy in Mississippi (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1960), 117–20. On Choctaw and Chickasaw removal, also see Mary Elizabeth Young, Redskins, Ruffleshirts, and Rednecks: Indian Allotments in Alabama and Mississippi, 1830–1860 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1961); Clark and Guice, Frontiers in Conflict, 233–53; Arthur H. DeRosier Jr., The Removal of the Choctaw Indians (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1970); and Samuel J. Wells, “Federal Indian Policy: From Accommodation to Removal,” in The Choctaw before Removal, ed. Carolyn Keller Reeves, 181–213 (Oxford: University Press of Mississippi, 1985).

4More than thirteen banks were actually incorporated in the state between 1829 and 1837, but by 1837 a number of them had already closed. Roughly twenty-eight banks and branches operated in the state by the end of 1836. See Marvin Bentley, “Incorporated Banks and the Economic Development of Mississippi, 1829–1837,” Journal of Mississippi History 35, no. 4 (1973): 381–401; John Hebron Moore, Agriculture in Ante- Bellum Mississippi (New York: Bookman Associates, 1958), 69; Bruchey, Cotton and the Growth of the American Economy, 18–19; Miles, Jacksonian Democracy in Mississippi, 143–44. On banks and banking in early Mississippi, also see Bentley, “The State Bank of Mississippi: Monopoly Bank on the Frontier (1809–1830),” Journal of Mississippi History 40, no. 4 (November 1978): 297–318; Charles Hillman Brough, “The History of Banking in Mississippi,” in Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society, vol. 3, ed. Franklin L. Riley, 317–40 (Oxford, Miss., 1901); Richard Holcombe Kilbourne Jr., Slave Agriculture and Financial Markets in Antebellum America: The Bank of the United States in Mississippi, 1831–1852 (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2006); Dunbar Rowland, “Banking,” in Encyclopedia of Mississippi History, vol. 1, ed. Dunbar Rowland, 181–97 (Madison, 1907); James Roger Sharp, The Jacksonians versus the Banks: Politics in the States after the Panic of 1837 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1970), 55–88; and Robert C. Weems Jr., “Mississippi’s First Banking System,” Journal of Mississippi History 29, no. 4 (1967): 386–408.

5Herbert A. Kellar, “A Journey through the South in 1836: Diary of James D. Davidson,” Journal of Southern History 1, no. 3 (1935): 355. Among its democratic provisions the 1832 constitution eliminated all property requirements for voting and office holding, established term limits for most offices, and made nearly every state and county office an elected rather than an appointed position. This last provision included all judges; Mississippi was the only state in the country where that was the case. See Miles, Jacksonian Democracy in Mississippi, 35–43; and Winbourne Magruder Drake, “The Mississippi Constitutional Convention of 1832,” Journal of Southern History 23, no. 3 (1957): 354–70.

6Joseph G. Baldwin, The Flush Times of Alabama and Mississippi: A Series of Sketches (New York, 1853), 50, 82, 83–84, 87, 88.

7Kellar, “A Journey through the South in 1836,” 355; Baldwin, Flush Times, 87, 89, 263; Jackson Mississippian, June 24, July 1, July 15, July 22, August 5, August 12, August 19, August 26, and September 2, 1836.

8A report fi led in 1837 by state- appointed bank commissioners, for example, indicated that banks in Mississippi had less than half their authorized capital on hand, and just a tiny percentage of that was in hard money, with the ratio of specie to circulation and deposits just 1 to 15. Even those figures probably underestimated the extent to which banks had bungled their operations, because a number of institutions refused to allow the commissioners to inspect their books. Baldwin, Flush Times, 87; Brough, “History of Banking in Mississippi,” 324–27; Fenstermaker, Development of American Commercial Banking, 152–53; McGrane, Panic of 1837, 24–27; and Miles, Jacksonian Democracy in Mississippi, 130–31, 143–44.

9Johnson Jones Hooper, Simon Suggs’ Adventures and Travels (Philadelphia, 1858), 12. Less aphoristically, William Henry Sparks wrote that in the flush times “there was no common bond but interest. . . . Society was a chaos, and sauve qui peut, or, take care of yourself, the rule” (Sparks, Memories of Fifty Years, 365).

10In their studies of the domestic slave trade, Steven Deyle, Walter Johnson, and Michael Tadman all conclude that roughly 60 to 70 percent of slaves moved from the upper South to the lower South over the course of the antebellum era were moved via the interstate trade. David Libby, focusing on Mississippi specifically, concludes that slaves imported by traders “comprised a great part of the African American population in Mississippi before 1835.” Charles Sydnor notes that the trade was substantial and that “few, if any, southern States received as many slaves and exported as few” as Mississippi. See Steven Deyle, Carry Me Back: The Domestic Slave Trade in American Life (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 289; Walter Johnson, Soul by Soul: Life inside the Antebellum Slave Market (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999), 5–6; Michael Tadman, Speculators and Slaves: Masters, Traders, and Slaves in the Old South (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1989), 44; Libby, Slavery and Frontier Mississippi, 61; and Charles Sackett Sydnor, Slavery in Mississippi (New York, 1933), 144–57, quotation on 144. On the financing of the cotton plantation economy, see Harold D. Woodman, King Cotton and His Retainers: Financing and Marketing of the Cotton Crop of the South, 1800–1925 (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1968), 3–195. For a contemporary source describing the escalating debt assumed by purchasers of slaves in Mississippi, see United States Gazette in New York Observer and Chronicle, February 22, 1840. On the relationship between local credit systems and mortgages backed by slave property, see Bonnie Martin, “Slavery’s Invisible Engine: Mortgaging Human Property,” Journal of Southern History 76, no. 4 (2010): 817–66.

11Sydnor, Slavery in Mississippi, 157–62. On the speculative nature of the domestic slave trade, see Deyle, Carry Me Back, esp. 94–141; Robert H. Gudmestad, A Troublesome Commerce: The Transformation of the Interstate Slave Trade (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2003); Johnson, Soul by Soul; and Tadman, Speculators and Slaves. How much debt white Mississippians engaged to pay for their slaves in the 1830s cannot be reckoned precisely, but the fi gure was staggering. One man estimated that over the course of the decade Mississippians collectively borrowed ninety million dollars to buy slaves; another asserted in 1841 that Mississippians in 1841 still owed more than three million dollars to slave traders for purchases they made between 1832 and 1837. The Natchez Courier, publishing from the site of the largest slave mart in the state, off ered a snapshot that may provide a relatively accurate feel for the whole, reporting that white residents of Mississippi bought as many as ten thousand slaves on credit between the fall of 1835 and the fall of 1836 at an average cost of one thousand dollars, thus creating a debt of ten million dollars to be paid out of the 1836 cotton crop. See United States Gazette in New York Observer and Chronicle, February 22, 1840; Groves v. Slaughter, 40 U.S. 449 (1841), 481; and Natchez Courier in Christian Secretary, May 20, 1837.

12Important works on the confusion and anxiety wrought more broadly in the United States by antebellum economic change, many of which focus on middle-class formation, religious revivalism, and the creation of bourgeois morality in northeastern cities and towns, include Stuart M. Blumin, The Emergence of the Middle Class: Social Experience in the American City, 1760–1900 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989); Christopher Clark, The Roots of Rural Capitalism: Western Massachusetts, 1780–1860 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990); Lori D. Ginzberg, Women and the Work of Benevolence: Morality, Politics, and Class in the Nineteenth-Century United States (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992); Karen Halttunen, Confi dence Men and Painted Women: A Study of Middle- Class Culture in America, 1830–1870 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982); Rodney Hessinger, Seduced, Abandoned, and Reborn: Visions of Youth in Middle- Class America, 1780–1850 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005); Paul E. Johnson, A Shopkeepers’ Millennium: Society and Revivals in Rochester, New York, 1815–1837 (New York: Hill and Wang, 1979); John F. Kasson, Rudeness and Civility: Manners in Nineteenth- Century Urban America (New York: Hill and Wang, 1990); David J. Rothman, The Discovery of the Asylum: Social Order and Disorder in the New Republic (Boston: Little, Brown, 1971); Mary P. Ryan, Cradle of the Middle Class: The Family in Oneida County, New York, 1790–1865 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1981); and Ronald G. Walters, American Reformers, 1815–1860, rev. ed. (New York: Hill and Wang, 1997).