Cotton Kingdom

The Rise of Cotton

The Cotton Gin

Eli Whitney had received an invitation to stay with Catherine Greene at her plantation. He learned about cotton production and the difficulties they faced to clean the cotton. Greene and her plantation manager explained the issues of cotton to Whitney. They wanted a more efficient way to get the cotton seeds. He invented the cotton gin in 1793 and had it patented in 1794. The way it worked was the cotton would run through a small wooden drum. There were hooks to catch the fibers of the cotton. Small cotton gins were cranked by hand. Bigger gins were cranked by horses or steam engines.


After Eli Whitney invented and patented the cotton gin, it made cotton plantations efficient and profitable. Cotton plantations across the South grew more than eighty percent of the worlds cotton. As the economy for cotton grew, so did the slave economy. Plantation owners needed more slaves to work the gins and they were smuggling more slaves from Africa. Cotton became the number one cash crop for the South. You could plant cotton almost anywhere. When the cotton gin came out it made it easier for plantations to clean the cotton.

Important People in Cotton Kingdom

Diagram of Cotton Production in the 1800's

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“SparkNotes.” SparkNotes. SparkNotes, n.d. Web. 4 May 2015. <>

“Cotton Gin And Eli Whitney.” A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 4 May 2015. <>

“SCORE History/Social Science.” SCORE History/Social Science. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 May 2015. <>