The South As Defined By The Crops Grown Within The Plantation System

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The South as Defined by the Crops Grown Within the Plantation System

John Shelton Reed asked, “"The South: Where is it? What is it?" (Reed 1994, 5). This paper will define the American South by the crops grown within the plantation system from the American Colonial period through the end of the antebellum period. The South has been an economically distinctive region reflected by the historic dominance of the plantation system.
For this paper, the crops grown within the plantation system include tobacco, indigo, rice, sugarcane, and cotton. Tobacco, indigo, rice, sugarcane, and cotton were valuable plants and grown as cash crops. Cash crops, as opposed to subsistence crops, are specialized crops that are grown to be sold for profits and not used for personal use on the plantations. Plantation owners had no trouble transporting their crops because of the many waterways in the Southern colonies that made it made it easy for ocean-going ships to tie up at plantation docks. A plantation is defined as a large piece of land (or water) usually in a tropical or semitropical area where one crop is intentionally planted for widespread commercial sale and usually tended by resident laborers.
"Let us begin by discussing the weather," wrote U. B. Phillips in 1929. (Reed 1994, 7). The weather, that distinguished Southern historian asserted, "Has been the chief agency in making the South distinctive. It fostered the cultivation of the staple crops, which promoted the plantation system,
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