Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin in March of 1794. Whitney was a graduate of Yale University, and after his graduation he went to South Carolina where he worked as a tutor on a plantation. At the time, slavery was declining, as plantation owners were realizing that the cost to maintain slaves was too high. Slaves were needed to separate by hand, the cotton from the seed. It was a time consuming job. Whitney became interested in the idea of a machine to do the job. His invention was quickly copied and it changed the way plantation owners farmed. The cotton could be quickly separated by the cotton gin, so plantation owners could plant and process much more cotton, much faster. The cotton farms grew and so did the need for more slaves. In the first half of the 19th century the number of slaves exploded to five times what it was a the beginning of the century. The South had become the largest producer of cotton in the world, and the wealthy plantation owners had become very dependent on slave labor for the production of their cotton crop.
As the country was growing and more states were being added to the United States, the Southern states were becoming more and more out numbered. Lincoln was elected and he was known to be against slavery. Tariffs were levied on cotton and cotton goods by laws that were put into place by representatives from the North. The plantation owner’s in the South found that the fast growing anti-slavery North was threatening the future of their wealth.
Soon after Lincoln was elected, South Carolina seceded from the United States, and six other Southern states quickly joined them. They called themselves the Confederate States of America. On April 12, 1861, the Confederate States of America attacked Fort Sumter, South Carolina, which was manned by Union troops. No one was killed, and the Confederate attack was successful in this first battle of the Civil War.... [continues]
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