King Cotton

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The Merseyside Maritime Museum is currently marking the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War with an exhibition outside the Archives Centre on the second floor and a trail pointing out relevant collections throughout the museum.  This image shows part of an envelope that we have borrowed from the Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester to add to the exhibition.  It was printed in New York and was designed to send a powerful message regarding the economic and moral position of England (represented by John Bull).  England claimed to be powerful and free, but the economic success of places like Manchester was reliant on access to cotton produced by slave labour.  John Bull is kneeling on a slave while worshipping King Cotton.
Lead image: King Cotton postcard, published New York, 1861, on loan from Museum of Science & Industry, Manchester.