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The Causes of Deindustrialization: The Migration of the Cotton Textile Industry from New England to the South

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 May 2021

Abstract

Numerous historians of deindustrialization argue that industries went into decline because established manufacturers moved production to cheaper locales to escape unions and high wages. A different pattern of decline occurred in the New England cotton textile industry, where downsizing began in the 1920s. Rather than fleeing their home area to build facilities elsewhere, most New England manufacturers were driven out of business by lower-cost competitors in the American South. Southerners founded, managed, and financed a heavy majority of the textile companies in their region. Although some New England firms did set up Southern plants, this was a defensive reaction to changing market realities. New competitors have brought about deindustrialization in other core U.S. industries. Recognizing this trend is important for a full understanding of the political economy of modern capitalism.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s) 2002. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Business History Conference. All rights reserved.

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References

Bibliography of Works Cited

Books

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Abrams, Richard. Conservatism in a Progressive Era: Massachusetts Politics, 1900–1912. Cambridge, Mass., 1964.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Atack, Jeremy, and Peter, Passell. A New Economic View of American History, 2d. ed. NewYork, 1994.Google Scholar
Ayers, Edward. The Promise of the New South: Life after Reconstruction. NewYork, 1992.Google Scholar
Bell, Daniel. The End of Ideology. Glencoe, Ill., 1960.Google Scholar
Bensel, Richard. The Political Economy of American Industrialization, 1877– 1900. NewYork, 2000.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Blicksilver, Jack. Cotton Manufacturing in the Southeast: An Historical Analysis. Atlanta, Ga., 1959.Google Scholar
Brown, Ashmun. A Study of the Cotton Industry North and South. Providence, R.I., n.d. [1923?].Google Scholar
Burgy, J. Herbert. The New England Cotton Textile Industry: A Study in Industrial Geography. Baltimore, Md., 1932.Google Scholar
Clark, Victor S. History of Manufacturers in the United States, 1860–1914. Washington, D.C., 1928.Google Scholar
Copeland, Melvin. The Cotton Manufacturing Industry of the United States. Cambridge, Mass., 1912.Google Scholar
Cowie, Jefferson. Capital Moves: RCA’s Seventy-Year Quest for Cheap Labor. Ithaca, N.Y., 1999.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cumbler, John T. Social History of Economic Decline: Business, Politics, and Work in Trenton. NewBrunswick, N.J., 1989.Google Scholar
Davis, Mike. Prisoners of the American Dream: Politics and Economy in the History of the US Working Class. NewYork, 1986.Google Scholar
Dexter, Robert C. Study of the New England Cotton Textile Industry Made for the American Unitarian Association. Boston, 1931.Google Scholar
Doane, Warren F. The Flight of Capital and Industry from Massachusetts. Philadelphia, Pa., 1935.Google Scholar
Dunn Robert, W., and Jack, Hardy. Labor and Textiles: A Study of Cotton and Wool Manufacturing. NewYork, 1931.Google Scholar
Edmonds Richard, Woods. Cotton Mill Labor Conditions in the South and New England. Baltimore, Md., 1925.Google Scholar
Faragher, John Mack, et al. Out of Many: A History of the American People, 3d ed. Upper Saddle River, N.J., 2000.Google Scholar
Galenson, Alice. The Migration of the Cotton Textile Industry from New England to the South, 1880–1930. NewYork, 1985.Google Scholar
Gross, Lawrence F. The Course of Industrial Decline: The Boott Cotton Mills of Lowell, Massachusetts, 1835–1955. Baltimore, Md., 1993.Google Scholar
Hall Jacquelyn, Dowd, et al. Like a Family: The Making of a Southern Cotton Mill World. NewYork, 1987.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Harris Howell, J. The Right to Manage. Madison, Wisc., 1982.Google Scholar
Hartford, William. Where Is Our Responsibility? Unions and Economic Change in the New England Textile Industry, 1870–1960. Amherst, Mass., 1996.Google Scholar
Hodges, James. New Deal Labor Policy and the Southern Cotton Textile Industry, 1933–41. Knoxville, Tenn., 1986.Google Scholar
Honey, Michael K. Southern Labor and Black Civil Rights: Organizing Memphis Workers. Urbana, Ill., 1993.Google Scholar
Kane, Nancy Frances. Textiles in Transition: Technology, Wages, and Industry Relocation in the U.S. Textile Industry, 1880–1930. NewYork, 1988.Google Scholar
Kennedy, Stephen Jay. Profits and Losses in Textiles: Cotton Textile Financing Since the War. NewYork, 1936.Google Scholar
Lahne, Herbert J. The Cotton Mill Worker. NewYork, 1944.Google Scholar
Lemert, Ben. The Cotton Industry of the Southern Appalachian Piedmont. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1933.Google Scholar
Lowell Board of Trade. Digest of the City of Lowell and Its Surrounding Towns. Lowell, Mass., 1916 Google Scholar
Minchin, Timothy. What Do We Need a Union For? The TWUA in the South, 1945–1955. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1997.Google Scholar
Mitchell, Broadus. The Rise of Cotton Mills in the South. Baltimore, Md., 1921.Google Scholar
Norton Mary, Beth, et al. A People and a Nation, 6th ed. Boston, 2001.Google Scholar
Parker Margaret, Terrell. Lowell: A Study of Industrial Development. 1940; Port Washington, N.Y., 1970.Google Scholar
Pusateri C., Joseph. A History of American Business. Arlington Heights, Ill., 1984.Google Scholar
Schatz, Ronald. The Electrical Workers: A History of Labor at General Electric and Westinghouse, 1923–1960. Urbana, Ill., 1983.Google Scholar
Scranton, Philip. Figured Tapestry: Production, Markets, and Power in Philadelphia Textiles, 1885–1941. NewYork, 1989.Google Scholar
Smith Thomas, R. The Cotton Textile Industry of Fall River, Massachusetts: A Study of Industrial Localization. NewYork, 1944.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Stein, Judith. Running Steel, Running America: Race, Economic Policy, and the Decline of American Liberalism. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1998.Google Scholar
Sugrue Thomas, J. The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit. Princeton, N.J., 1996.Google Scholar
Taylor George, R. The Transportation Revolution, 1815–1860. NewYork, 1951.Google Scholar
Thompson, Holland. From the Cotton Field to the Cotton Mill: A Study of the Industrial Transition in North Carolina. NewYork, 1906.Google Scholar
Thurow, Lester. Head to Head: The Coming Economic Battle among Japan, Europe, and America. NewYork, 1992.Google Scholar
Wolfbein Seymour, Louis. The Decline of a Cotton Textile City: A Study of New Bedford. NewYork, 1944.Google Scholar
Wright, Gavin. Old South, New South: Revolutions in the Southern Economy since the Civil War. NewYork, 1986.Google Scholar
Zysman, John, and Laura, Tyson, eds. American Industry in International Competition. Ithaca, N.Y., 1983.Google Scholar
Adamic, Louis. “Tragic Towns of New England.” Harper’s Monthly (May 1931), 748–60.Google Scholar
Azzam, Azzedine. “Competition in the US Meatpacking Industry: Is It History?Agricultural Economics 18 (1998): 107–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Barkin, Solomon. “Management and Ownership in the New England Cotton Textile Industry.” Journal of Economic Issues 15 (June 1981): 463–75.Google Scholar
Craypo, Charles. “Meatpacking: Industry Restructuring and Union Decline.” In Contemporary Collective Bargaining in the Private Sector, ed.Voos, Paula B.. Madison, Wisc., 1994, pp. 6396.Google Scholar
Dexter Robert, C.The Naumkeag Experiment: A Case of Employer-Worker Co-operation in a NewEngland Textile Mill.” Bulletin of the Taylor Society 15 (April 1930): 6379.Google Scholar
Duffy Neal, E.The Determinants of State Manufacturing Growth Rates: A Two-Digit Level Analysis.Journal of Regional Science 34 (1994): 137–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Frieden, Jeffrey. “Monetary Populism in Nineteenth-Century America: An Open Economy Interpretation.” Journal of Economic History 57 (June 1997): 367–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Geyer, Michael, and Charles, Bright. “World History in a Global Age.” American Historical Review 100 (Oct. 1995): 1034–60.Google Scholar
Hinrichs, A. F.Historical Review of Wage Rates and Wage Differentials in the Cotton-Textile Industry.” Monthly Labor Review (May 1935), 1171–75.Google Scholar
Hulsemann, Karsten. “Greenfields in the Heart of Dixie: Howthe American Auto Industry Discovered the South.” In The Second Wave: Southern Industrialization from the 1940s to the 1970s, ed. Philip Scranton. Athens, Ga., 2001, pp. 219–54.Google Scholar
Martin, Ron, Peter, Sunley, and Jane, Mills. “Unions and the Politics of Dein-dustrialization: Some Comments on HowGeography Complicates Class Analysis.Antipode 26 (1994): 5976.Google Scholar
Mass, William.Summaries of Dissertations: ‘Technological Change and Industrial Relations: The Diffusion of Automatic Weaving in the United States and Britain.’Journal of Economic History 45 (1985): 458–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mokyr, Joel. “Comment on Doctoral Dissertation Summaries.Journal of Economic History 45 (1985): 471–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Stanley, Kathleen. “Industry and Labor Market Transformation in the U.S. Meatpacking Industry.” In Global Restructuring of Agro-Food Systems, ed. Philip McMichael. Ithaca, N.Y., 1994, pp. 129–44.Google Scholar
Tilden, Leonard. “NewEngland Textile Strike.” Monthly Labor Review (May 1923), 1336.Google Scholar
Wheat Leonard, F.The Determinants of 1963–77 Regional Manufacturing Growth: Why the South and the West Grow.Journal of Regional Science 26 (1986): 635–59.Google Scholar
Wolfe, Patrick.History and Imperialism: A Century of Theory, from Marx to Postcolonialism.” American Historical Review 102 (April 1997): 388420.Google Scholar
Fifth Report to the General Court of the Commission on Interstate Compacts Affecting Labor and Industries . . . . Dec. 1936. In Massachusetts Legislative Documents, 1937 (House, No. 1601).Google Scholar
Final Report of the Commission on Interstate Co-Operation . . . Concerning the Migration of Industrial Establishments from Massachusetts , June 1939. In Massachusetts Legislative Documents, 1939 (House, No. 2495).Google Scholar
Massachusetts Department of Labor and Industries. Annual Report. 1928. Pub. Doc. 104.Google Scholar
Massachusetts Department of Labor and Industries. Report of a Special Investigation into Conditions in the Textile Industry in Massachusetts and the Southern States. Boston, n.d.Google Scholar
Massachusetts Industrial Commission. Report of an Investigation by the Massachusetts Industrial Commission of the Conditions Affecting the Textile Industry and the Problem of Unemployment in That and Other Industries (Dec. 1930), Massachusetts State Archives, LA 1.01, Rec Group Labor, Series 819X.Google Scholar
U.S. Bureau of the Census. Fourteenth Census of the United States (1920). Washington, D.C., vol. 8: Tables 48 and 54.Google Scholar
American Wool and Cotton Reporter . 1923–28.Google Scholar
Boston Globe. Feb. 1927.Google Scholar
Commercial and Financial Chronicle . Aug. 1925.Google Scholar
Factory and Industrial Management . Jan. 1929.Google Scholar
Industry [periodical of the Associated Industries of Massachusetts]. 1927.Google Scholar
Textile Worker.Google Scholar
Textile World.Google Scholar
Barnes Textile Associates Papers, American Textile History Museum, Lowell, Mass.Google Scholar
Everett Mills (Pamphlets, Financial History). Mudd Library, Yale University, NewHaven, Conn.Google Scholar
Fischbaum, Marvin.An Economic Analysis of the Southern Capture of the Cotton Textile Industry Progressing to 1910.” Ph.D. diss., Columbia University, 1965.Google Scholar
Friedman Tami, J.Communities in Competition: Capital Migration Across the North-South Divide.” Paper presented to the Organization of American Historians Meeting, Indianapolis, Ind., April 1998.Google Scholar
Koistinen, David. “Dealing with Deindustrialization: Economics, Politics, and Policy during the Decline of the NewEngland Textile Industry, 1920– 1960.” Ph.D. diss., Yale University, 1999.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
National Association of Cotton Manufacturers Papers. American Textile History Museum, Lowell, Mass.Google Scholar