The Importance Of Eli Whitney And The Cotton Gin

Better Essays
Donovan Daniels
Mr. Milstead
AP Honors US History
December 6 2015
Eli Whitney and the Cotton Gin In the late 18th century, plantations and cash crops were becoming less profitable. As a result, on March 14, 1794, Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin and plantation owners looked to cotton farming as a faster way to get rich. With the emergence of textile industries and cotton farming, the cotton gin did its job and led the way towards an economic boom in America. Conflict between the north and south began as these immense plantations required more slaves than ever. The creation of Eli Whitney's cotton gin made the cotton business very profitable, increasing the amount of slavery and ultimately causing a civil war. Before the invention of the
…show more content…
It made producing cotton a lot easier and it was faster, and farmers were finding profits, thanks to this time saving device. “After the invention of the cotton gin, the yield of raw cotton doubled each decade after 1800.” (Schur) By 1860, the United States produced about two-thirds of the cotton used in the world and the economy of the South depended almost exclusively on the cotton crop. “After Eli Whitney unveiled the cotton gin, processing cotton became much easier resulting in greater availability and cheaper cloth.” (Kelly, Martin. "The Importance of the Cotton Gin to American History.") This now meant that cotton could be produced plentifully and cheaply for domestic use and for export, and by the mid-19th century, cotton was America’s leading export. For the North, especially New England, cotton’s rise meant a steady supply of raw materials for its textile …show more content…
Both developments played significant roles in the onset of America’s Civil War.” (Latham 192)
“However, like many inventors, Whitney (who died in 1825) could not have foreseen the ways in which his invention would change society for the worse. The most significant of these was the growth of slavery. While it was true that the cotton gin reduced the labor of removing seeds, it did not reduce the need for slaves to grow and pick the cotton. In fact, the opposite occurred. Cotton growing became so profitable for the planters that it greatly increased their demand for both land and slave labor.”

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    Cotton King Slavery

    • 878 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Eli Whitney’s invention of the cotton gin made it easier to produce cotton faster. This Industrial Revolution benefited the banks in the north and the plantation owners in the south. Cotton became “king” in American and African Americans were the driving forcing behind such an economic boom. Before the invention of the cotton gin, picking and cleaning cotton and was a labor-intensive job. In 1793 when the…

    • 878 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    By 1860 there were fifteen slave states compared to only six by 1790 (archives.gov). National consensuses taken in 1790 and 1810 showed a 70% increase in slave population (pbs.org). However, the greatest consequence of the invention of the cotton gin was the increased brutality in the treatment of slaves. After the cotton gin’s invention, slaves worked on larger plantations and were forced to do more strenuous work to meet the new demands for cotton. Plantation owners found a necessity in slaves as they became valuable as cotton’s value increased.…

    • 1166 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    And with new territories claimed by the U.S in the Louisiana Purchase, Plantations were expanding uncontrollably. “After the American Revolution, the Southern slave population exploded, reaching about 1.1 million in 1810 and more than 3.9 million in 1860.”(Wahl, Jenny.) This added mass of unfair labor was due to the inventions such as the cotton gin and the circular saw. As it added to the profitability of cotton, inevitably causing the purchasing of more and more slaves to reach the people’s ever-growing demands. America, a nation ripped in two due to the Civil War, leaving an aftermath that left the world without slavery.…

    • 1498 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    King Cotton The Unites States is one of the main cotton producers in the world, so much so that the most commonly used widely known phrase to describe the growth of the American economy during the 1830s was “Cotton is King”. So why was Cotton so important to the American economy? cotton was often reference as ‘king’ because it was viewed as a luxury commodity. The invention of the cotton gin greatly increased the production of cotton harvested by slaves. This resulted in intensely higher profits for planters, which in turn let to a dramatically high demand for labor, aka slaves.…

    • 702 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Effects Of King Cotton

    • 622 Words
    • 3 Pages

    After Eli Whitney’s invention of the cotton gin in 1793, cotton could be processed quickly and cheaply. As a result, more cotton was grown and more slaves were needed to work on more acres of cotton fields. This was an unintended consequence for Whitney, who sought to reduce the need for slave labor, although his invention had the opposite effect. The spread of “King Cotton” impacted the Southern way of life politically, economically, and socially. It contributed to a political divide between the North and the South over the issue of slavery, the expansion of the plantation economy in the South, and the often inhumane treatment of slaves.…

    • 622 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Cotton gin is short for Cotton engine. This new process of producing cotton contributed to mills in Great Britain and the American northeast. The innovation of machinery caused the south to become the world 's largest producer of cotton in during the time of the 19th century. This victory of the economy was followed by a human disaster as well. By 1820, a majority of the northern states completely prohibited slavery, but cotton led to a great amount of financial gain of the slavery system.…

    • 2483 Words
    • 10 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Even though cotton was not an easy crop to grow it was the supply and demand of cotton that made the use of slaves a necessity in the South. The cotton crops were difficult to grow and grueling to harvest, and it takes a few years of bump crops just to get the land right to grow cotton. Southern landowners could harvest hundreds of acres of cotton with the help of slaves. The spread of popularity of cotton boosted the economic growth after the War of 1812. However, because of its demand, more slaves were needed to grow and harvest the cotton fields.…

    • 1534 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Although abolitionist efforts were more prevalent in the north, they failed to produce a more rapid change due to the economic benefits that came with slavery. This is shown with the actions of Quakers who in ideals supported the abolition of slavery but in practicality did not. They instead manipulated the term slavery as “parental guidance” to counter the fact that they were using slaves for their own benefit. They also supported gradual abolition instead of instant manumission because they could not adjust financially to the absence of slaves. Slavery in the north soon expanded even further with their booming industrial economy.…

    • 1095 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    New inventions created during the Industrial Revolution, such as the cotton gin and steamboat, led to an increased requirement for cotton. The production of this raw material resided mostly in the South, which would then be transported to the North for manufacturing in factories. The 1800s marked an important time during this time period for the South because each decade showed a cotton production that was two times more than the first (Olsen-Raymer). Cash crops such as sugar, tobacco, and rice were also increased in production (“Compare Two Worlds: North vs South”). In total the South saw a export amount of around $185,000,000.…

    • 927 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The invention of the cotton Gin made men fifty times more efficient at separating cotton from the seeds. While the north had completely outlawed slavery by 1820, the cotton boom was just beginning. Cotton from the South fueled textiles in the North, and the demand for goods was endless. According to Behre (N.D.) “The number of mills within a 30-mile radius of Providence, R.I., doubled between 1812 and 1815, spurred by the same hopes of riches that induced Southerners to plant the cotton. The revolution was on.” With high demand for the better quality and lower cost of machine made textiles, the north had found a replacement for the capital the slave trade had been supplying until its ban.…

    • 799 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays