Cotton Industrial Revolution

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How has cotton contributed to the advancement of nations and shaped the world we live in today? Since there is not a single answer to this question, there are multiple factors to consider. In addition to playing a monumental role in the industrial revolution, cotton was responsible for stimulating further technological advancements. Moreover, cotton has made huge impacts in world history, such as leading to the Civil War, expanding poor factory conditions, and even leading to an alternate source of explosives (LeCouteur and Burreson 86). As demand for cotton rose during the industrial revolution, the textile industry was vastly transformed. Although the wool industry was already developed in Europe at the time, cotton blossomed exponentially…show more content…
Firstly, most villages underwent vast changes and were transformed into large factories. This was largely made possible by all of the new technologies that were starting to get implemented, which increased the efficiency of production (Wilde). The most devastating part of this transformation is the actual working conditions in these factories. Workers were required to abide by strict rules, and they were punished harshly for even small mishaps (LeCouteur and Burreson 73). What is more disturbing is the fact that the living conditions were just as bad as the workload itself. Because numerous families were forced to live together in small spaces, diseases can spread very easily among the workers. At this point, most readers might ask themselves, “how can this possibly get worse?” The answer lies in the fact that children were forced to work just as hard as the adults. The children were an important asset to the factories since they were small and can get around machines relatively easily. What’s sad is the fact that the conditions faced by these children dramatically reduced their life span. It wasn’t uncommon for more than 50% of the children to not even live to be five years old (LeCouteur and Burreson 73). Instead of learning or enjoying life like other children their age, these children were forced to work in this unescapable prison under extreme conditions. This is definitely a lifestyle none of…show more content…
In the 1840s, Friedrich Schönbein accidently discovered that cotton soaked in nitric and sulfuric acid can explode when exposed to heat. This property of “guncotton” results from the fact that the protons on the various alcohol groups of cellulose were converted into NO2 groups, in a process known as nitration. This discovery would inspire the search for similar ways to manufacture explosives. It is extremely fascinating and noteworthy to compare how similar the synthesis of TNT (trinitrotoluene) is to the way Schönbein accidently formed guncotton. If you were to start with toluene as your starting material, you can follow similar steps taken by Schönbein to synthesize TNT. Although toluene does not look anything like a cellulose, it is still possible to perform nitration on the benzene ring through electrophilic aromatic substitution. Using the same reagents used by Schönbein (nitric acid and sulfuric acid) you can install 3 NO2 groups on the ring and form TNT, a common
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