How Did The Cotton Gin Affect The Economy

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The Cotton Gin In the mid-19th century a war begun that would change America forever. This was the Civil War, a war in which the American nation split into two nations who were divided over the practice of slavery. This war can is undeniably seen as the bloodiest event in American history, therefore the machine that caused it is then the most threatening to American society. This machine is not a weapon, but a simple agricultural advancement called the cotton gin.
At the turn of the 19th century America was growing both in geographical size and in the economic sector. In the South this economic expansion was created by a new “cash crop” called cotton. The southern United States had the perfect environment to grow cotton, and plenty of land …show more content…

A machine had to be invented first that would make the cotton profitable by easily separating the seeds from the fibers. This machine, the cotton gin, was patented in 1794 by Eli Whitney a man who lived on a cotton farm in Savannah Georgia (history.com staff). Before the invention was made popular throughout the South not many people grew cotton as in some states like Mississippi cotton was not widely grown until the 1830’s (Dattel). However, after the machine revolutionized the refining process of the cotton crop the supply of cotton rose to meet the growing demand, which only increased after the supply met it, and with the rising demand of cotton rose the demand for inexpensive labor. This demand for labor was increasingly supplied by slaves. The increase in slavery can be shown by the census as in 1790 the census measured that there were 654,121 slaves in the south, while in the 1860 census there were 3,950,511 (Bourne). This substantial increase in slavery was a result of farmers or plantation owners needed an increasing amount of cheap labor to grow more cotton. The cotton gin therefore kept slavery profitable and alive well into the 1860’s whereas if the …show more content…

This is exactly what happened in the South as “American cotton production soared from 156,000 bales in 1800 to more than 4,000,000 bales in 1860” which flooded the markets (Dattel). As a result, farmers who wanted to make money would have to increase their labor force, which resulted in the slave industry becoming gradually more profitable (Dattel). Another major issue with a cash crop is that if everyone is growing one crop there is no diversity and the entire farming economy can easily be brought down by some sort of bug such as a boll weevil or a natural disaster such as the dust

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