Most Significant Change: The Cotton Gin By: April maxwell

The Cotton Gin was the most significant change in the 1800's because it increased cotton production dramatically, cotton became a cash crop, and the need for slaves became greater.

Because of the invention of the Cotton Gin, cotton production increased dramatically. Where before one slave could only pick about a pound a day, the cotton gin could do that, and more in less than an hour. "With Eli Whitney's invention, cotton lint could be produced quickly and efficiently at up to 50 pounds per day." (

How the Cotton Gin works: "First, the cotton balls were put into the top of the machine. Next, you turn the handle, which turns the cotton through the wire teeth that combs out the seeds. Then the cotton is pulled out of the wire teeth and out of the cotton gin." (

Originally, the only 2 cash crops that America had were Indigo and Tobacco. After the Cotton Gin was invented however, cotton became a cash crop as well since southern farmers could make a living out of it.

You would think that because of the Cotton Gin, less slaves would be needed since it required less people to use the simple machine. On the contrary, the need for slaves became greater, since more people were needed to pick more cotton. Slaves also became more expensive. "More people were needed to harvest all the cotton. Slaves were used for this this task. The need for slaves increased and caused more disagreements between North and South. Because the need for slaves increased, the value of the slaves also increased." (

The way it affected people directly is that it increased slavery and southerners received more money from the amount of cotton that was produced.

The Cotton Gin affected the country by separating the North and South even more because of the impact it had on slavery. "For the South, it means that cotton could be produced plentifully and cheaply for domestic use and for export. For the North, especially New England, cotton's rise meant a steady supply of raw materials for it's textile mills." (

HISTORICAL CONTEXT: The Cotton Gin was invented in 1793 by Eli Whitney. It was invented so that producing cotton was easier. Slavery was still very popular and textile mills were still being invented, so the need for cotton and slaves increased. The South was affected more than the North because that is where the cotton is produced and the South's profits increased dramatically from the invention of the machine.

Because of the increased demand for cotton, westward expansion became more popular so that more cotton trees could be planted.


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