During the antebellum period of United States history, the southern states generated an unprecedented amount of wealth through a well developed plantation system that produced vast quantities of cotton, sugar, and tobacco. To date, very little has been written on the methods used by the planters to account for this wealth. This paper reviews plantation accounting methods as outlined by the southern agricultural reformer Thomas Affleck in his book The Cotton Plantation Record and Account Book. The paper also presents a statistical study of surviving plantation records which determined that these very unique and sophisticated procedures of Affleck's became widely used among planters.

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