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Eli Whitney was an American inventor who created the cotton gin and pushed the “interchangeable parts” mode of production.Born on December 8, 1765, in Westboro, Massachusetts, Eli Whitney studied at Yale before going on to invent the cotton gin, a device that highly streamlined the process of extracting fiber from cotton seeds. With the patent for his device being widely pirated, Whitney struggled to earn any recompense for his invention. He later went on to pioneer “interchangeable parts” systems of production.
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How the cotton gin influinsed slavery
Before the cotton gin, slavery had been on its way out—farmers realized it was more expensive to maintain slaves, compared to the value of what they could produce. Cotton was a troublesome crop anyway; its fiber could only be separated from the sticky, embedded seeds by hand, a grueling and exhausting process.
Cotton Gin Cart Demonstration