Boll Weevil

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by samcster94, Mar 11, 2018.

  1. samcster94 Well-Known Member

    Apr 19, 2017
    What would happen if, when slavery was at its peak(imagine the epidemic hitting at any point between Jacksonian times and the election of Lincoln) if the Boll Weevil hit on the level it hit around the turn of the 20th century???
  2. Alexander the Average Anti-lion tamer

    Sep 19, 2015
    I'd argue that it could potentially strengthen Slavery in the US. The destruction of King Cotton would force the South to diversify their economy and would free up the slaves in cotton plantations for other economic activity.

    There's also the possibility that many slave owners might move to the territories to start fresh which could lead to more Slave States.
    samcster94 and wtw like this.
  3. NolanFoster Tulsi <3

    Jul 8, 2015
    From what I understand - and someone please prove me wrong here - even after the boll weevil and the diversification it caused (and part of that was inevitable anyway), the US south still held the largest chunk of the global cotton market in the early 20th century. You could see a lot more small slaveholders ruined than large ones.
    wtw likes this.
  4. James Ricker Own your mistakes

    Oct 29, 2016
    Boston Massachusetts
    Cotton was king because of its profitablety.
    Planters bring ruined would drive down the price of slaves as slaves are sold at auction to pay creditors.
    Slaves not getting as much on the market would hurt the banks trying to recover their losses.
    A possible Southern economic collapse is possible as the Southern economy isn't as diversified as it would be in later years.
  5. mianfei Member

    Mar 6, 2018
    A Southern economic collapse might have weakened Northern opposition to the spread of slavery, as so much of that was driven by the fact that the South had largely controlled the Federal government before the first Republican President (Lincoln) was elected. It might have driven slavery into the Southwest on a large scale, leading to a California dominated by San Joaquin Valley growers with their own black slaves, or extremely low-cost black labor performing all farm duties in those Southwestern states if slavery were not legal there. Alternatively or additionally, the “Big Five” in Hawaii might have turned to unneeded black slaves as sugar labor rather than to Asians, as they would certainly have been as cheap if available abundantly from the Southwest.

    A major black migration to the Southwest and/or Hawaii would have precluded the Great Migration to Northeastern and Midwestern cities, as blacks would have been further removed physically from those areas than they were in the South. It would also have reduced Mexican and Philippine immigration and possibly meant earlier Philippine independence. It is, however, also possible that with no Fourteenth or Fifteenth Amendments – as a Southern collapse would have prevented the war that produced them – that exploitation and racism would have been as or more severe at the height of “scientific racism” in the early twentieth century. Also, differences in culture between the South and Southwest make it possible that struggles for black political rights would have been much more violent if there was not the social support from churches provided in the South.