Why did the value of slaves and land increase after the 1790s?
Slavery was beginning to wane in the 1790s, but then there was a regrowth in slavery because of the invention of the cotton gin in 1794. Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin to make the removal of seeds from short-staple cotton easier, and his intent was to help enslaved people and farmers harvest cotton more easily.
As a result of the cotton gin, the production of cotton boomed. Long-staple cotton had long been grown near the coast, but short-staple cotton grew inland. Before the invention of the cotton gin, most farmers stayed away from planting short-staple cotton because it was hard to harvest. It required a great deal of effort to remove the seeds from short-staple cotton.
However, once the cotton gin was invented, farmers increased the planting of short-staple cotton, and the planting of cotton spread across inland regions of the South. In addition, as the production of short-staple cotton increased, slavery grew again. The value of enslaved people increased, as they were necessary for growing and harvesting short-staple cotton. The value of land that was used to grow cotton also increased.
The South remained agricultural, and the North, which was increasingly industrialized, developed textile factories in which Southern cotton was turned into cloth.
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