AFTER BEE SPACE
To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee.
Compared to honey, sugar always has been a more political commodity, but especially in nineteenth-century America. Until that time, Americans had relied on the sugarcane industry (which had been profitable because of slaves) to serve its collective sweet tooth and had neglected to address the conflict between democratic principles and chattel slavery. The American slave trade had been inextricably linked to sugarcane and rum since the colonial period, when the Dutch were establishing trade routes in the West Indies. During the eighteenth century, John Adams had the temerity to suggest that the American Revolution was really about one item—molasses, which was the main ingredient used in rum and was defined by the British as sugar.1 As pioneers moved west, the contradiction of allowing slavocracies in a democracy became much more clear when territories organized into states. Although I don’t want to simplify the causes of the Civil War, I want to suggest that the sugarcane industry was a catalyst because