The History Of Tobacco History Essay
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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016
The drought finally ended and Jamestown turned a corner. A new cash crop was introduced to Virginia which brought prosperity and a path into the future. John Rolfe is credited with being the man who introduced tobacco to America. Tobacco has a long history in the Americas. The Mayan Indians of Mexico carved drawings in stone showing tobacco use. These drawings date back to somewhere between 600 to 900 A.D. Tobacco was grown by American Indians before the Europeans came from England, Spain, France, and Italy to North America. Native Americans smoked tobacco through a pipe for special religious and medical purposes. Tobacco was the first crop grown for money in North America. In 1612 John Rolfe and the settlers of the first American colony in Jamestown, Virginia grew tobacco as a cash crop. It was their main source of money. Other cash crops were corn, cotton, wheat, sugar, and soya beans. Tobacco helped pay for the American Revolution against England. Also, the first President of the U.S. grew tobacco. Ralph Hamor, Secretary of Virginia, reported that Rolfe planted the first tobacco seeds that he obtained from somewhere in the Caribbean, “…I may not forget the gentleman worthie of much commendations, which first tooke the pains to make triall thereof, his name Mr. John Rolfe, Anno Domini 1612, partly for the love he hath a long time borne unto it, and partly to raise commodity to the adventurers”. He crossed the Caribbean breed with the indigenous tobacco to produce a plant well adapted to the local soil. Rolfe gave some tobacco from his crop to friends “to make triall of,” and they agreed that the new leaf had “smoked pleasant, sweete and strong. Rolfe’s first crop that was shipped to London compared favorably with the Spanish product. The colony prospered and called for women to come to Jamestown and marry the settlers. It became a boomtown and people come in droves to America. While tobacco brought the colonists prosperity, it had a dark side from the beginning. It required a great deal of labor and so created the conditions in which slavery would later flourish. Tobacco would determine Virginia’s future. John Rolfe was an earlier American settler. His date of birth is unknown, but he was baptized on 6 May 1585 and came to the Colonies in 1610. He was one of many settlers sent by the Virginia Company of London, charged with finding ways to make the New World profitable, and in this assignment Rolfe was wildly successful: The native Virginia variety of tobacco, Nicotiana rustica, had been deemed too bitter for English customers’ tastes, but in about 1612 Rolfe imported and began cultivating Caribbean tobacco, Nicotiana Tabacum. Ever since, tobacco has been the region’s dominant crop. His first wife died en route to the colonies, and Rolfe later married the Native Princess Pocahontas, who had been kidnapped and converted to Christianity. He returned to England with her, where they met with King James I and Sir Walter Raleigh and were greeted across England as celebrity-curiosities. Tragically, she contracted a disease for which she had no genetic immunity — smallpox, some say, or pneumonia — and died within months. Rolfe, now twice widowed, returned to Virginia where he served in several colonial administrative posts and married a third time. During a 1622 battle with Natives, his home was destroyed, and Rolfe is presumed to have perished, though his body was never found.Through Thomas Rolfe, his son with Pocahontas, Rolfe’s progeny extends through many generations of Virginia’s most prominent families, including the Bollings, Randolphs, and First Lady Edith Wilson. The social stature of these families necessitated the insertion of a specific clause in Virginia later laws against miscegeny, defining fourth- and subsequent generation descendants of Native Americans as legally White. Prices for tobacco began to drop because every person had their own farms in their backyards where they could’ve planted their own set of tobacco. Although military discipline almost certainly helped motivate the Jamestown settlers to work, tobacco is what eventually saved the colony. In 1612 an Englishman named John Rolfe introduced a mild strain of tobacco that was perfect for smoking. Suddenly the plant was in demand and could make huge profits, and this provided motivation for settlers to work. Unfortunately, the high profit margin encouraged many to grow tobacco for sale rather than plant food to feed the colony. One farmer could grow about one or two thousand plants, which made about five hundred pounds of tobacco. This brought a profit of between £25 and £200 per year (farmers in England earned about £3 profit per year). The promise of huge profits led to a flood of tobacco in the market. By 1629, the bottom dropped out of the tobacco market because of overproduction. The early years of tobacco production were challenging because labor was scarce in Jamestown, and tobacco was a very labor-intensive crop. Many people planted the crop by using sticks to make a small hole in the ground and placing seeds down the hole. Many settlers lived along rivers and streams so the harvested crop could be transported easily. Eventually, many planters recognized the need for an alternative source of labor for the crop in order to maximize profits. One solution for a desperately needed labor force was indentured servitude. Indentured servants usually received passage to the New World in exchange for four or five years of service, although this was later extended to seven years. At the end of service, servants were supposed to receive their freedom and a gift-usually clothes and tools and sometimes a small section of land. The “owners” of indentured servants did receive some benefits-specifically something called a headright (fifty acres of land for each “head” or servant bought) as well as cheap labor. Indentured servants could typically travel to Jamestown for less than £12 per servant. Those who needed laborers usually attempted to get English servants first, but the system was also extended to include the Irish, a group viewed as less civilized than the English and more like the “savage” American Indians. Common characteristics of indentured servants can be seen by viewing the population’s statistics. More men than women came to the New World as indentured servants. Women were outnumbered four to one and made up only 20 percent of the servant population. Women were not allowed to marry while a servant, so many became pregnant out of wedlock. Some pregnant women escaped servitude while others had to add two years to their term of service. There was almost no incentive to keep indentured servants well fed or healthy, so many servants were mistreated. Some owners bought and sold indentured servants even though this was illegal, and some servants complained of being treated as slaves. As the need for labor increased, many planters began to shift from working indentured servants to owning slaves. Slavery was introduced into Jamestown in 1619, when about twenty Africans were brought to Virginia, along with about ninety Englishwomen. According to the ship log, Africans were sold as “indentured servants” for food. The women on the ship were purchased with 120 pounds of tobacco and most quickly became settlers’ wives. Although the word “slave” was not used yet to refer to Africans, evidence shows that they were not allowed their freedom after a term of service as the European indentured servants were. Therefore, many historians consider these twenty Africans to be the first slaves in what later became the United States. Since there was no incentive to keep indentured servants well fed or healthy, the number of Europeans who would agree to the terms dropped significantly. Some owners bought and sold indentured servants, and some servants complained of being treated as slaves. Planters turned from servants to African slaves because fewer indentured servants would sign on to work for a full contract. Many indentured servants tried to escape before their term of service expired. By the year 1618, Virginia produced 20,000 pounds of tobacco. Nine years later they produced over 500,000 pounds of it, and then two more years after they produced over 1,500,000 pounds of it. Each Virginian got 50 acres for themselves whose passage they paid. Rolfe was a very smart guy, the reason I said this is because even though he promised them freedom dues after working over 5 to 7 years, deep down inside he knew that only 1 out of 10 of those slaves would outlive the contract. They were all forbidden to get married. Even though tobacco is what really had put Virginia on the map.
By the 1800’s, many people had begun using small amounts of tobacco. Some chewed it. Others smoked it occasionally in a pipe, or they hand-rolled a cigarette or cigar. On the average, people smoked about 40 cigarettes a year. The first commercial cigarettes were made in 1865 by Washington Duke on his 300-acre farm in Raleigh, North Carolina. His hand-rolled cigarettes were sold to soldiers at the end of the Civil War. It was not until James Bonsack invented the cigarette-making machine in 1881 that cigarette smoking became widespread. Bonsack’s cigarette machine could make 120,000 cigarettes a day. He went into business with Washington Duke’s son, James “Buck” Duke. They built a factory and made 10 million cigarettes their first year and about one billion cigarettes five years later. The first brand of cigarettes were packaged in a box with baseball cards and were called Duke of Durham. Buck Duke and his father started the first tobacco company in the U.S. They named it the American Tobacco Company. The American Tobacco Company was the largest and most powerful tobacco company until the early 1900’s. Several companies were making cigarettes by the early 1900’s. In 1902 Philip Morris company came out with its Marlboro brand. They were selling their cigarettes mainly to men. Everything changed during World War I (1914-18) and World War II (1939-45). Soldiers overseas were given free cigarettes every day. At home production increased and cigarettes were being marketed to women too. More than any other war, World War II brought more independence for women. Many of them went to work and started smoking for the first time while their husbands were away. By 1944 cigarette production was up to 300 billion a year. Service men received about 75% of all cigarettes produced. The wars were good for the tobacco industry. Since WW II, there have been six giant cigarette companies in the U.S. They are Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds, American Brands, Lorillard, Brown & Williamson, and Liggett & Myers (now called the Brooke Group). They make millions of dollars selling cigarettes in the U.S. and all over the world. In 1964 the Surgeon General of the U.S. (the chief doctor for the country) wrote a report about the dangers of cigarette smoking. He said that the nicotine and tar in cigarettes cause lung cancer. In 1965 the Congress of the U.S. passed the Cigarette Labelling and Advertising Act. It said that every cigarette pack must have a warning label on its side stating “Cigarettes may be hazardous to your health. By the 1980’s, the tobacco companies had come out with new brands of cigarettes with lower amounts of tar and nicotine and improved filters to keep their customers buying and to help reduce their fears. The early 1980’s were called the “tar wars” because tobacco companies competed aggressively to make over 100 low tar and “ultra” low tar cigarettes. Each company made and sold many different brands of cigarettes. In 1984 Congress passed another law called the Comprehensive Smoking Education Act. It said that the cigarette companies every three months had to change the warning labels on cigarette packs. It created four different labels for the companies to rotate. Since the 1980’s, federal, state, local governments, and private companies have begun taking actions to restrict cigarette smoking in public places. The warning labels were the first step. Tobacco companies cannot advertise cigarettes on television or radio. It is against a law that was passed by Congress in 1971. Many cities across the U.S. do not allow smoking in public buildings and restaurants. Since 1990, airlines have not allowed smoking on airplane flights in the U.S. that are six hours or less. State taxes on cigarettes have increased. As it becomes more difficult for tobacco companies to sell their products in the U.S., they are looking outside. U.S. tobacco companies are now growing tobacco in Africa, South America (Brazil and Paraguay), India, Pakistan, the Phillipines, Greece, Thailand, and the Dominican Republic. Fifty percent (50%) of the sales of U.S. tobacco companies go to Asian countries, such as Thailand, South Korea, Malaysia, the Phillipines, and Taiwan. Where I’m from in the Bahamas we have many people who use tobacco for their reasons but most of everyone use it to calm their nerves. Nowadays, even young teenagers smoke cigarettes or other type of drugs. Economics deals with the making and selling of products and services to consumers. Products are things like chewing tobacco, cigarettes, televisions, houses, and cars. Services include medical care, education, and insurance. Consumers are the people like ourselves who buy or receive the products and services. The U.S. has a capitalist economic system. Under this system, one or more people get together and form a company to make and sell something. They do this to make money. The money that they make after paying off their bills or expenses is called profit. In other words, a profit is the money they have for themselves after paying rent, salaries, utility bills (electricity, gas, telephone) and buying machines/computers and any other equipment they need to make their product and run their business. When companies sell more than they spend, they make a profit. Selling their products to other countries is called exporting. The product that is sold is called an export. Buying from other countries is called importing, and what U.S. companies buy is called an import. For example, if Ford Motor Company buys steel from Japan to make a car, it is importing a product. Steel is the import. When Ford sells its cars to Brazil, it is exporting. Cars are the exports. When companies or governments export more than they import, they have a trade surplus. A trade surplus is another way of saying a profit. On the other hand, when they import more than they export, they have a trade deficit. A deficit means a debt or money owed to someone else. Throughout history, tobacco companies have had a trade surplus. That is one big reason why they have been important to the economy of the U.S. In 1992 the tobacco industry reported a $5.65 billion dollar trade surplus. In the first half of 1992, tobacco exports were $2 billion more than imports. The taxes that the tobacco companies pay provide a lot of money for the U.S. government. In 1992, Philip Morris alone paid $4.5 billion in taxes. This makes it the largest tax payer in the U.S. The making or manufacturing of cigarettes is almost completely automated. It is done by machines without people. Machines crush and clean tobacco leaves and add chemicals like nicotine. They also roll cigarettes, put on filters, cut them to length, and then package them. All of the six U.S. companies producing cigarettes are large and powerful. They are so strong that not even all the medical reports of the health dangers of smoking and all the laws restricting smoking and advertising have been able to weaken them. They are still able to make big profits by buying up other non-tobacco companies in the U.S. and by selling and making cigarettes outside the country. For example, Philip Morris bought Miller Beer and Kraft General Foods, and R.J. Reynolds bought the Nabisco Food Group and General Entertainment Corporation. The U.S. government and the tobacco companies help each other. Since 1964 all the Surgeon Generals of the U.S. have talked and written about the health dangers of cigarettes. Still, cigarettes are made, advertised, and sold. The tobacco industry gives thousands of dollars to help cover the costs of political campaigns of people running for political office. These are people who want to be elected or reelected as Senators, Representatives, Vice-President, and President. In turn the politicians help the tobacco industry. One way politicians help is continuing the tobacco price support system. Under the price support system, tobacco can only be grown on a certain number of government-approved farms. The government gives farms special, low interest loans to help cover the costs of growing tobacco. The U.S. Department of Agriculture allows a certain amount of tobacco to be grown each year. This is called a quota. It also sets a minimum price for tobacco. When the farmer takes his/her tobacco to the market, any tobacco not sold one cent above the government price is bought by grower cooperatives and stored to be sold another year. Tobacco products are products made entirely or partly of leaf tobacco as raw material, which are intended to be smoked, sucked, chewed or snuffed. All contain the highly addictive psychoactive ingredient, nicotine.
Tobacco use is one of the main risk factors for a number of chronic diseases, including cancer, lung diseases, and cardiovascular diseases. Despite this, it is common throughout the world. A number of countries have legislation restricting tobacco advertising, and regulating who can buy and use tobacco products, and where people can smoke. What I’m about to explain to you are some of the effects tobacco can cause to your body and they are, Tobacco stains your teeth and gives you bad breath. Tobacco ruins some of your taste buds, so you won’t be able to taste your favorite foods as well. Tobacco causes bleeding gums (gum disease) and cancers of the mouth and throat. When you smoke it also increases your heart rate and blood pressure and causes heart disease and heart attacks. If you try to do activities like exercise or play sports, your heart has to work harder to keep up. Smokers have trouble breathing because smoking damages the lungs. If you have asthma, you can have more frequent and more serious attacks. Smoking causes a lot of coughing with phlegm (mucous).Tobacco can cause emphysema (lung disease) and lung cancer. Smoking causes dry, yellow skin and wrinkles. The smell sticks to your skin. Less blood and oxygen flows to your muscles, which causes them to hurt more when you exercise or play sports. These are some of the effects that tobacco does to you and your body. Tobacco is very addictive, it starts out as something they try just to try or do it through peer pressure. They usually start out with something not as strong like red man or beechnut because regular dip will make you sick the first time you try it. From there they usually go to pouches and when the buzz is too weak from that they use regular dip, then they are hooked. The nicotine craving from there is hard to overcome. A lot of people who work outside like to dip because when you get used to the buzz it feels amazing. It is really relaxing, That is also why you see a lot of major league baseball players who dip… especially when they are hitting.. it keeps them nice and relaxed. Dip is a simple tobacco product that you can chew. Tobacco Company gave away about 2 billion cigarettes to our troops abroad. Back then the negative effects of tobacco on people’s health were largely unknown. Nicotine masks fatigue and hunger, also help focus thoughts and provides a calming effect. It was largely thought nicotine also caused a heightened sense of awareness thus making one a better soldier. Many people also like the taste and aroma of burning tobacco. It’s also noted that nicotine helps with the symptoms of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, in fact many mental health programs give free cigarettes to their patients, both as an incentive to attend and because of the calming effects. Unfortunately nicotine is highly addictive and is also a carcinogen. You know before WWI lung cancer was so rare doctors often traveled across country to get a glimpse at a case. Nationwide there was something like 11 cases per year, not the case anymore though. I advise no one to do drug unless its for health reasons. Many children and teens use cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco because their friends do. Movies and TV shows can make smoking seem attractive. Teens, especially girls, often use smoking to try to control their weight. Teens may think that smoking is a way to look more mature, independent, and self-confident to their peers. They may smoke to rebel against their parents. Most teens do not know how addictive cigarettes are. Peers may persuade teenagers and even younger children to try tobacco. Even if they do not try verbally to influence another person, simply using tobacco around young people can motivate them to mimic the behavior. Only because they want to fit in, or seem more mature than they really are, they try using tobacco. When teenagers or younger people first begin using tobacco, it is easy to limit usage. They may only use it during parties or when around friends who use tobacco. They may believe that tobacco is not addictive for them and that they can continue to control their use indefinitely. Little that they know is nicotine is very addictive, and eventually they will likely become addicted as well. Nicotine is a nitrogen-containing chemical – an alkaloid, which is made by several types of plants, including the tobacco plant. Nicotine is also produced synthetically. The type of nicotine found in tobacco plants, comes from the nightshade family. Red peppers, eggplant, tomatoes and potatoes are examples of the nightshade family. Apart from being a substance found in tobacco products, nicotine is also an antiherbivore chemical, specifically for the elimination of insects – it used to be extensively used as an insecticide. When humans, mammals and most other types of animals are exposed to nicotine, it increases their heart rate, heart muscle oxygen consumption rate, and heart stroke volume – these are known as pharmacologic effects. I advise every single person, stay far away from anything that has nicotine in it, most products that do have that in it is tobacco which isn’t good for neither you nor your body.
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