The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 57, July 1953 - April, 1954 Page: 530
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
created an industry of limited, cyclical prosperity until after World
War I when a combination of factors brought near ruin from
which the Texas and Atlantic coastal areas never recovered. The
unique agro-industrial sugar empire around Lake Okeechobee in
Florida and a revitalized industry in Louisiana restored sugar
culture to a position near its former importance.
Sugar Country is a vivid account of the vicissitudes of the
sugar industry during the slavery regime and in the modern era.
Except for a chapter on recent developments in Florida, the pri-
mary concern is Louisiana and the other sugar areas appear as
they contribute to or deviate from the Louisiana story. This
apparent slighting of the Texas, Florida, and other sugar produc-
ing regions is justified, for southern Louisiana never produced less
than 95 per cent of the total sugar production in the ante-bellum
period and accounts for more than 8o per cent of the recent out-
put. In coastal Texas the warm climate, rich soil, and adequate
rainfall were conducive to cane cultivation. As early as the 18o's
experimental plantings laid the basis for expansion in the 1840's,
and by 1852 the relatively large Texas plantations reached their
ante-bellum peak of more than 11,00o hogsheads of sugar. By
1903 Texas was producing more than 22,00o tons, but decreased
plantings of cane in subsequent years reduced the crop to such
an extent that after 1926, the output of raw sugar in Texas
Wherever it existed in place or time the sugar industry had
common problems. Spring and fall cold, tariff changes and price
fluctuations, the quantity and quality of labor, methods of cultiva-
tion and manufacture, and the tremendous capital investment
were concerns of all planters. Ante-bellum plantation owners
solved these problems sufficiently well to create a gala social life
commensurate with the profitable enterprise. In many respects
the postwar planter was faced with more acute difficulties than
his predecessor. With the disciplined labor force of slavery gone,
he found little satisfaction in Irish, German, Chinese, Italian, or
leased convicts (in Texas), and eventually settled on negro labor-
ers. The tariff policies of his faithfully supported Democrats
seemed more onerous than before the war. Excessive interest rates,
difficulties with factors, expensive equipment, and the sugar trust
squeezed potential profits; pests, rot, and the mosaic disease caused
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 57, July 1953 - April, 1954, periodical, 1954; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101152/m1/633/: accessed May 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.