Cotton Gin

The cotton gin, a machine that separates the cotton fibers from the seeds, revolutionized the economy of the early United States. Cheap, plentiful cotton spurred the cloth industry worldwide, encouraged invention and manufacturing in the North, enriched Southern plantation owners and vastly increased the number of slaves needed for planting and harvesting. Many believe that while Eli Whitney’s invention was a great boost for the Industrial Revolution, it may have inadvertently led to the Civil War.

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