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Samuel Slater is generally given the credit, or shame, for bringing the Industrial Revolution from England to the United States; apprenticed by his family to the owner of a cotton mill, Slater became an expert in cotton spinning and the organization of a cotton mill, and once these things were committed to his memory, he traveled to Rhode Island where he built a mill in partnership with another heretofore unsuccessful textile businessman, Moses Brown. Ironically, the same year, Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin, which revolutionized the cotton industry in the South by making it much faster to take seeds from the cotton. The combination of increasing numbers of industrial factories in the North, and more cotton available much faster in the South created the perfect storm for years of sectional conflict that would lead to the American Civil War; the North became industrialized even as wealthy Southern planters were digging in and making exponentially more money with investments in the cotton gin. Policies that were good for Northern cities and industry were not necessarily good for a South that was heading backward, or at least staying with the status quo of an agricultural society. In another irony, Southern cotton was being shipped to Northern and British mills as fast as the mills could weave it--further cementing sectional differences between the two parts of the United States. Even as they were helping each other with the raw material and the production of fabric, they were entrenching themselves in two very different ways of life that would ultimately lead to a destructive and tragic war.
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