When World War One broke out, the demand for cotton—for uniforms, tires, and airplanes—soared. At the same time, Great Britain embargoed Egyptian cotton. Arizona replaced Egypt as the leading source of cotton for the United States during the war, but when the war ended, demand for cotton and migrant workers to pick the cotton plummeted. Crops went unsold and the migrant workers who had come to Arizona to work in the cotton fields were left without work or the means to return to their homes (Sheridan 1995).
Read About It
- Telegram from Dave Loeb to Governor Campbell, January 25, 1921
- The handling and marketing of the Arizona-Egyptian cotton of the Salt River Valley
- Letter from Reed Smoot to Governor Campbell, September 23, 1922
- Some Phases of the American-Egyptian Cotton Situation and Outlook with Statistical Supplement
- Copy of a telegram from Governor Campbell to President Harding, September 13, 1922
- United States cotton statistics; acreage, yield, production, 1909-49, by States
- When did the Cotton Market Crash happen? Who was affected?
- Do the above documents record the experiences of everyone affected by the Cotton Market Crash?
- Why did laborers come from other states and Mexico to pick cotton? What were their lives like? Would you have come to Arizona to pick cotton? Why or why not?
- What did the Arizona Cotton Growers Association do to help the laborers after the cotton market crashed? What about the US and Mexican governments? Do you think it was enough? What might you have done differently?
Visit the websites below to learn more. Based on this new information, have your answers to the questions above changed?