Alternate History

Mississippi-American Cotton Company (Napoleon's World)

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The Mississippi-American Cotton Company (often called The Macc) was a prominent early American corporation founded in 1851 by Elias Wainwright in Jackson, Mississippi and which became the wealthiest company in America by 1870. Wainwright became one of the first men to own a company that owned land in multiple states and and the Macc owned as much as 20% of cotton-growing land in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana by 1865, thanks to Northern investors and low land values. Competing with the Savannah Cotton Company based out of Georgia, the two "Cottonies" soon cornered the cotton market and undersold most plantation owners, allowing them to buy up their land. As the Macc did not own slaves, which Wainwright considered to be an expensive and cumbersome way to attract work, many towns and farms collapsed due to an inability to compete with poor immigrants flocking to the South to find work for the company, and Wainwright, who was not known to be sympathetic to abolitionists, is often credited with helping hasten the end of slavery. The Macc was headquartered in Covenant, Arkansas after 1860, helping grow the city as one of its main employers, and grew as much as 65% of the South's cotton on company farms by 1885. Complaints of mistreatment of farmers as well as tensions between freedmen and immigrants competing for jobs led to the 1889 Alabama Cotton Riots, and the company declined under the stewardship of Wainwright's sons David and George until it was broken apart during the Progressive Era by the Bryan administration. Modern historians cite the Macc as an example of "corporate good," as through free-market principles the company made slavery economically undesirable along with its questionably moral standing.

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