Tobacco and the history of the USA
The role tobacco played in the history of the US must not be
underestimated despite America's fervent anti-tobacco campaign that entails
an attempt to clear its past from any traces of tobacco whatsoever.
On the one hand tobacco was and still is condsidered devilish, yet the initial stages of America's economy partly
originate in tobacco planting. The columns of the Capitol represent tobacco
plants and the first couple of America, Rolfe and Pocahontas, supported
themselves by tobacco planting and trading. Already James I. inveighed
against the devilish habit of smoking, yet happily accepted the money
earned through taxes according to the motto BAD CUSTOMS - GOOD CUSTOMS.
In fact the motherland profited from tobacco more than the planters themselves.
A world market emerged out of the production, trade and use of tobacco and
Theweleit speaks of the first global village of smokers - at the cost of Native
Americans who were driven away from their land. Apparently the US largly fails
to notice that tobacco was one of the main origins for international
business, the development of American aristocracy in the South and to some
extent part of the emerging struggles of class. The significance of tobacco
in the history of the US is not desired information in the conglomeration
of documents, invention, myth, fact and fake in American history and
therefore little exposed in stories, songs and movies.