Though not grown in large scale due to its slow and difficult seed removal process from the cotton bolls, cotton was still a profitable crop before the introduction of the cotton gin. However, this situation changed drastically after the invention of cotton gin by Eli Whitney cotton in 1793. The cotton gin enabled easy removal of seeds, and this resulted into the explosion of cotton production in the southern states. However, Whitney’s invention changed society for the worst; slavery grew significantly after the introduction of the cotton gin. The use of cotton gin did not reduce the need for the slaves in the growing and picking the cotton. Indeed, the opposite was true because cotton growing became so profitable to an extent that it increased the demand for land and slave labor. Just as the invention of cotton gin revealed the inequality problem among the white Americans, the large cotton fields expressed racial inequality that was inherent in black slavery.
Acceptance of black slavery together with the removal of the southern Indians from the cotton lands was a clear demonstration that economic and political liberty of the whites was inversely related to that of people of color. Although the cotton gin did not necessitate use of slaves in order to have an increase in cotton production, southern whites believed that it was the only efficient method thus they took slaves in areas where cotton was being grown. Cotton kept slaves busy through the year. This made the large planters rich and did little in improving the economic well being of majority of the southerners. As a result, cotton gin invention had a significant effect on slavery in the US. It is also frequently cited as being one of the causes of American Civil War.
Lakwete, A. (2003). Inventing the Cotton Gin:Machine and Myth in Antebellum America.
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Pierson, P. (2009, September). Seed of conflict. America's Civil War, Vol.22,ls.4, p.25.
Schultz, K. M. (2012). HIST.3rd ed. Stamford, CT : Cengage Learning. P. 315.