Graduate Student Robert Ferguson is a doctoral candidate who specializes in the history of American Foreign Relations, International Political Economy, and the History of the American South. Specifically, he researches the relationships between American foreign policy and domestic political constituencies. He works under the supervision of Dr. Scott Reynolds-Nelson. His dissertation analyzes how cotton subsidies created during the Great Depression created a pricing crisis for the federal government that could only be resolved through the aggressive pursuit of cotton markets abroad. This dissertation is one of unintended consequences. How the solution to one problem leads to the creation of a new one. The dissertation tells the story of how well-connected cotton farmers captured a willing Department of Agriculture and created policies that benefited cotton farmers at the expense of American manufacturing and consumers. The dissertation shows how the desire for American "self-sufficiency" created market distortions that incentivized an expansive foreign policy after the conclusion of the Second World War. Rob shows that rather than being mere victims of geopolitical turbulations, American farmers have often been at the forefront of crafting an American foreign policy that suits their interests at the expense of others. As a politically powerful constituency, whose prosperity depends on the whim of the global commodity markets, they influenced a federal government to engage in a global price stabilization regime with significant long-term consequences.