Jun 7, 2019 in Sociology

Effects Of The Cotton Gin On Slavery And The American Industry

Introduction 

Previously, some scholars have addressed the issue of cotton gin invention and its impact on the American Textile Industry and slavery. The study covers the years between 1793 and 1865. Some scholars have addressed this issue. For instance, Jennifer L Goloboy in his “Industrial Revolution: People and Perspectives” asserts that by 1860, America’s wealth was majorly composed of slave value. William Edward Burghardt Du Bois and Saidiya V. Hartman, on the other hand, indicate that the invention of the cotton gin led to the abnormal and fatal rise of a larger cotton farming system that entirely depended on slave labor. These authors of “The Suppression of the African Slave-Trade to the United States of America: 1638-1870”, further indicate that invention of the cotton gin influenced the development of the American industry significantly. Similarly, Mason I. Lowance, through his book, “A House Divided: The Antebellum Slavery Debates in America, 1776-1865” notes that there was a remarkable augment of slaves in number in North and South America, beginning the period that the cotton gin was invented up to the period of around 1820.

The impact that the cotton gin invention had on the American textile industry was reported by Goloboy, Bois and Hartman, and Lowance. In addition, these authors reported how slavery was influenced by the invention of the cotton gin. These reports were done both in international and national levels. In their analysis, the three authors detailed the changes in demand for slaves in the North and South. The authors noted, with emphasis, that more people demanded more cotton after the invention of the cotton gin. Therefore, the invention of the cotton gin did not offset the demand for slaves, but increased it, instead. It was after the invention of the cotton gin that people started trading in slaves. In spite of these developments, the cotton gin invention caused developmental impacts on the textile industry. The three aforementioned books will be used as primary sources of background information pertaining to invention of the cotton gin, slavery and industrial revolution in America for analysis in this research. Therefore, a critical evaluation of the slavery and the American industrial history between 1793 and 1865, in this paper, affirms that the invention of the cotton gin led to an increase in slavery and influenced the growth of the American textile industry positively. 

Effects of the Cotton Gin on Slavery

Towards the end of the 18th century and during the early years of the 19th century, the southern states of America became the largest exporters of cotton to the northern states of America, England and Europe. The notable augment in the demand for cotton contributed to the expansion in cotton farming. Cotton farmers from the south faced challenges pertaining to sufficiency of labor, given that the area was sparsely populated. Demand for cotton had gone up while there were no adequate cotton farm laborers. Consequently, the demand for slaves went up too. As a result, slave trade became a highly payable business because the only way southern farmers could obtain sufficient labor was through the utilization of slaves.  Therefore, given that the Deep South lacked sufficient laborers to help in producing sufficient quantities of cotton for export, slave trade was utilized as a solution to the lack of enough laborers. However, it should be noted that in 1807, a constitutional ban was imposed on the Atlantic slave trade.   Therefore, slaves had to be imported from Africa in large numbers to offset the high demand for slaves in the Deep South. In addition, cotton farmers from the Deep South supplemented their need for slave labor from the upper south, where there seemed to be a surplus of slaves. It became apparent that slave trade had to be protected and maintained, even though it was against the law because cotton planters regarded it as a necessary institution. 

 

The rise of the Cotton Kingdom in southern states of America, influenced by invention of the cotton gin, led to increased mobility of slaves because slave masters from the north could sell slaves to Deep South cotton planters. Slave masters from the north were motivated to sell their slaves to the south by the fact that by then slave trade was a high paying business. In addition, once the slave masters from the north sold their slaves to the Deep South cotton planters, they were assured of a continuous supply of raw cotton from the south. Therefore, invention of the cotton gin, eventually led to the rise of domestic slave trade. This was done despite the fact that Americans from the northern and southern parts complained of the adverse effects of slavery. As much as many Americans wished to end the institution of slavery, it proved impossible because slavery was a significant part of the American society. The utilization of slavery was a deliberate undertaking, especially for those who found the other sources of labor expensive.

It was after the 1790s, after the invention of the cotton gin that the slavery became the most significant and profitable business. Slavery was also regarded as a property. It was the flourishing of the cotton industry that linked slavery and America’s national economic development. The southerners had decided to expand their cotton farming because invention of the cotton had made the harvesting and processing of cotton easier. This decision of expanding cotton farming by creating plantations affected the slaves greatly. Slavery had to be preserved, though there was a slow growing defense against slavery.  However, the north engaged in commencement of retreating from slavery. It was the American Revolution that committed the northern states of America to engage in eventual emancipation. It is also asserted that moral concerns and the lack of incentives to use slave labor contributed towards the abandonment of slavery in the north. However, the abandonment of slavery in the north had an adverse economical effect.  

Effects of the Cotton Gin on the American Industry

Tremendous advances in cotton manufacture, which were witnessed during the 19th century, revolutionized the textile industry in America. The demand for cotton increased significantly, each year, after the invention of the cotton gin. Specifically, the invention of the cotton gin opened up the potential of the Southern United States of becoming a chief producer and exporter of raw cotton to Northern United States and Europe.   Industrialization resulted from the ease in movement of slaves from Africa and upper South states of America to the Deep South. The southern parts of America had very view slaves, who they could use as laborers in farming and other industrial jobs. In addition, slavery had been banned. However, some slaves were sourced from Africa while the Northern States’ slave owners sold them to the south. Consequently, industry of cotton manufacture began its development and modern advancement, given that the South had become the principal producer of raw cotton.  

Slaves worked in the southern states’ industrial sector. They were a vital source of labor in the South, given that there were remarkable changes created by the Industrial Revolution. Raw cotton had to be produced in the southern states and availed to be used in the northern states and in Europe.  Given that the invention of cotton gin had made cotton harvesting and processing easier and the textile industry had began undergoing improvement in Europe, the American textile industry also grew. This is because the American industry had to progress in line with the European textile industry, especially the British textile industry, which was the principal importer of raw cotton from the southern states of America.  The invention of the cotton gin led to the development of large farming system of cotton. This led to the requirement of intertwining cotton farming and the requirement of economic forces of the industrial age. The textile industry had to undergo advancement to meet the demands of the market and process all the raw cotton that was produced.  

If it were not the invention of the cotton gin, the southern states of America could not have become the chief producer of raw cotton. The invention of the cotton gin contributed to the advancement in the American industry. Economically, the cotton gin increased the progress of the southern states of America, which had become the cotton kingdom. Therefore, other developments in the industrial sector had to be made to match the advancement in cotton harvesting and processing. Therefore, the north had to improve its textile industry so that the raw cotton, which was imported from the southern states of America, could be processed into a final product. 

Conclusion

Invention of the cotton gin is among the most significant inventions that influenced the growth path of the American industry. The mechanical device could quickly and reliably separate the cotton from its seeds. Given the invention of the cotton gin, the cost of processing cotton was greatly reduced. In addition, the processing speed of cotton was increased tremendously. These developments made cotton a staple crop in the South of America. As result, the American textile industry grew rapidly, beginning the mid 1790s. This took place because the American industry had to progress in line with the European textile industry, especially the British textile industry, which was the principal importer of raw cotton from the southern states of America. The cotton gin invention caused developmental impacts on the textile industry. 

In addition to the effect of advancement of the textile industry in America, which was caused by invention of the cotton gin, the immense amplification in the demand for cotton contributed to the need for more labor. This led to the vast expansion of slavery and slave trade during the first three decades of the 19th century. Also, it has been established that after the invention of the cotton gin, people in the northern parts of America started trading in slaves. Given that demand for cotton had gone up while there were no adequate cotton farm laborers, the demand for slaves had to go up too. Consequently, I turned out that slave trade was a highly payable business. The southern cotton planters knew that the only way they could obtain sufficient labor was through the utilization of slaves. They managed to achieve their goals because by then, slave masters from the north could sell their slaves to Deep South cotton planters, given the free and increased mobility of slaves. The major motivation of slave masters from the north to sell their slaves to the south was that slave trade was highly compensatory while they were assured of a continuous supply of raw cotton from the south. Therefore, the invention of the cotton gin led to an increase in slavery and influenced the growth of the American textile industry positively.

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