In 1836, Treasury Secretary Levi Woodbury confidently explained the “preeminence” of American cotton trade. He believed that American would remain dominant because of “good cotton land enough in the United States and at low prices, easily to grow, not only all the cotton wanted for foreign export……., but to supply the increased demand for it, probably for all ages.” Despite “great vibration,” the price of cotton would sustain “great profits” for capital invested in cotton production. The crux of his argument was price:

The single fact, that in no year has the price been but a fraction below 10 cents per pound, or at a rate sufficient to yield a fair profit, while it has, at times, been as high as 29,34, and even 44, and been on average, over 16 cents per pound since 1802, and over 21 since 1790, is probably without parallel, in showing a large and continued profit.

As Woodbury noted, the price fluctuation had influenced “the sale of public land and our revenue.”