The Civil War in New York

Slavery ended in New York State in 1827, yet this victory did not sever the city's connections to enslaved labor. The city profited from slave-grown cotton. Economic interest slanted New York politics and public opinion toward the South. White newspaper editors praised slavery as a benevolent system of labor and the only fit condition for people of African descent in America.

Raw cotton dominated the role of the United States in world trade. In some years, it constituted 60% of the nation's total exports. Southern cotton supplied 7/8 of the world supply. Shrewdly, New York merchants became middlemen between planters in the American South and the cloth-making mills of Britain and France. New York City capitalized on the expanding trade in southern cotton and sugar to become the leading American port, a global financial center, and a hotbed of pro-slavery politics. More...

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