Scan QR code or get instant email to install app
Eli Whitney's invention of the cotton gin, a mechanism for quickly separating cotton seeds from cotton fiber, helped elevate cotton as a basis of the Southern economy. Rather than leading to smaller plantations, the invention led to larger cotton plantations. The United States did not need to import cotton; rather, particularly after the invention of the cotton gin, the United States became a leading exporter of cotton. With larger plantations came an increased need for slaves: the cotton gin had the effect of increasing dependence on slave labor rather than decreasing it.