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Eli Whitney's Cotton Gin's Social And The Industrial Changes To The Us It Made.

1327 words - 5 pages

The cotton gin could clean as much cotton as fifty men could working by hand (Cotton Gin, 1).The cotton gin projected America into a mechanized world, where machines make work easier for man.Eli Whitney's cotton gin started the American Industrial Revolution.Asiatic cotton grew in east Africa five thousand years ago in what is now, Pakistan. Persiansbrought the cotton to India where the cotton became more useful. The cotton then went to Italy andGreece. In 300 B.C., Alexander the Great brought cotton goods into Europe. In the 700's Muslimsstarted manufacturing processes in Europe. Cotton had reached England by the mid 1600's. England laterimported cotton from the Americans (Cotton 1).In America, early explorers learned that Indians knew how to make clothing out of cotton. Theone bad thing was, cotton clothing took a very long time to make.In 1789, Samuel Slater, an Englishman, came to the United States and build the first cotton mill.With the mill and Eli Whitney's cotton gin, the cotton industry was booming. Cotton plantations expandedto about two to three thousand acres apiece.Today, cotton is much processed much differently than in 1930. In 1930 a farmer had to work270 hours to produce one bale of cotton. Today it takes us 23 hours. Also, China is the world leader inproducing cotton and Texas is the leading state of cotton production with 4,650,000 bales of cotton peryear. Cotton still ranks as a major income for southern farmers and today it has many more uses such ascushioning, paper, plastics, and even oil (Cotton 1).Cotton in the south was not a major cash crop such as tobacco or indigo before the invention ofthe cotton gin. The cotton was also tough to pick because of its rough and sharp surface (Cotton Gin 2).Many slaves would walk away from a days work covered with cuts and blisters on their hands.Some of the types of cotton are Sea Island, with has fibers an inch and 5/8's to two inches long.Upland long staple which has fibers and inch and an eighth to an inch and 3/4's, and upland short staplewhich has fibers 5/8's to one inch long (Cotton 1)In 1860 the south had about four million slaves. During the eighteen hundreds most slaves wereplantation slaves who picked cotton and all of the plantation slaves worked from sunrise to sunset. EliWhitney's invention had started a fast, large scale production of cotton that fueled the flame of slavery(Slavery 1).Josiah Henson, a southern slave, wrote 'Our dress was of cheap cloth, and a pair of coarse shoesonce a year. We lodged in log huts where wooden floors were an unknown luxury. In a single room werehuddled like cattle, ten or a dozen persons, men, women, and children. There were neither beds norfurniture. Our own beds were collections of straw or old rags. The wind whistled and the rain and snowblew through the cracks. The floor would soak in the moisture til the floor was a miry pig sty (Slavery 1).'Slaves became vital to the cotton industry, resulting in a trained slave being worth over...

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