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A Golden WeedTobacco and Environment in the Piedmont South$
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Drew A Swanson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780300191165

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300191165.001.0001

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The Decline of the Border

The Decline of the Border

(p.216) Seven The Decline of the Border
A Golden Weed

James C. Scott

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses the impact of competition, monopsony, cigarettes, and erosion on bright tobacco production in the late nineteenth century. Caswell, Halifax, and Pittsylvania faced increasing competition from new bright tobacco districts. The American Tobacco Company (ATC), a trust formed by the largest cigarette manufacturers, achieved a monopsony over local markets that farmer organizations were unable to break. The rise of the cigarette as the dominant consumer bright leaf product limited top market prices even as it stimulated national tobacco addiction. Environmental problems stemming from standard cultivation practices made growing yellow tobacco more difficult and expensive while at the same time limiting farmers' ability to turn to alternate crops. While the turn of the century did not spell the end of bright tobacco cultivation along the border, it did signal the conclusion of the crop's most promising era.

Keywords:   tobacco production, tobacco farming, cultivation, bright tobacco, yellow tobacco, American Tobacco Company, cigarettes

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