Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 1 month ago

 Instead, the invention increased the demand for slave labor. Why? ?

When Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin, he had hoped it would reduce the reliance on slaves in cotton production. Instead, the invention increased the demand for slave labor. Why?

The Cotton Gin didn’t work well so slaves were still needed

Slaves didn’t know how to use the Cotton Gin, so it was not used, and slavery continued

Southerners didn’t trust industrialization and wanted to show that the slave-system worked better than Whitney’s invention.

The Cotton Gin allowed cotton to be processed for market more quickly, therefore farmers wanted to grow more cotton, which required more slaves. 

2 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

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  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    The cotton gin allowed for the processing of a different kind of cotton, which expanded cotton production.  In the 18th century, the primary crop for the slave labor system in the South was tobacco.  Some planters grew what was known as "long staple cotton".  Long staple cotton was easy to process but could only be grown in a few areas of the South.  There was another type of cotton available: short staple cotton.  This could be grown in many areas of the South, but it was comparatively difficult to process and so wasn't economical for most people.  The cotton gin solved this problem by making it easier to process the short staple cotton.  This caused an explosion of cotton production.  Cotton could now be grown profitably in huge regions of the South.  It quickly became the dominant slave crop in the US, displacing tobacco which had been the backbone of the Southern economy since the 17th century.  As Americans expanded across the Southeast, they opened new lands to cotton production and brought their slaves with them.  This super charged the need for slaves and entrenched support for the institution.  By the 1850s, slavery was slowly beginning to fade in the Chesapeake, the region where it was once centered in North America.  Planters there were switching over to growing wheat, rather than tobacco.  Wheat only needed labor a few times a year, making the large capital investment of a permanent slave workforce less attractive.  Rather than owning their workers, more people were switching over to using free labor, who they could hire for a season and then dismiss.  Slave owners in Maryland and Virginia were increasingly selling their slaves South and West, to the cotton regions where slave labor was still in high demand.  Without the cotton gin, and the dramatic expansion of slavery that it fueled, we might have seen a gradual dying out of slavery in the East as the institution became less economically profitable

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