ther is a useful and welcome addition to the historiography of Indian-
Texas Christian University R. DAVID EDMUNDS
Cotton Crisis. By Robert E. Snyder. (Chapel Hill: The University of
North Carolina Press, 1984. Pp. xvii+ 174. Acknowledgments,
introduction, illustrations, epilogue, notes, bibliography, index.
The plight of American farmers during the Great Depression has
been chronicled by historians for years. One aspect of the agricultural
depression, however, has not been thoroughly researched until now. In
1931 a serious attempt was made to legislate a cotton moratorium for
the 1932 growing season. The holiday movement idea was not new, and
it would reoccur later on a broader scale. Unfortunately, the Farm Holi-
day Movement has overshadowed the very controversial effort to pro-
hibit the planting of cotton in 1932.
With cotton prices falling lower and lower and with a bumper crop
predicted for 1931, southern farmers felt themselves threatened as
never before. Traditional efforts to limit cotton surpluses, such as the
"Buy a Bale" movement and other nostrums, were discussed, but they
were no more viable in the 193os than in the past. More and more
Southerners became convinced that the only way to reduce the surplus
was to restrict severely the planting of cotton or to prohibit it altogether
Huey P. Long, the bombastic governor of Louisiana, became the
champion of the cotton prohibition movement. In the summer of 1931
he began his campaign to convince all the cotton producing states to
enact legislation to that end. Most Southerners who followed Long rec-
ognized that the movement could be successful only if all-or nearly
all-of the cotton-producing states went along. Texas was the key since
she harvested 40 percent of the acreage and produced 35 percent of
the cotton crop.
The Louisiana legislature enacted a prohibition law with the provi-
sion that it would become effective only when states whose aggregate
production totaled at least three-fourths of the nation's cotton followed
suit. The law was aimed directly at Texas, and during August and Sep-
tember, 1931, all southern eyes were focused on Austin and the Texas
governor, Ross S. Sterling. After much hesitation and many mass meet-
ings, Sterling finally called a special session of the legislature to con-
sider a cotton holiday.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 90, July 1986 - April, 1987. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117152/. Accessed November 24, 2014.