produced the cotton that was made into cloth in New England. In
1793 an inventor named Eli Whitney made it easy for the South to
produce much more cotton with a machine he called the cotton
gin. Before Whitney's invention it had taken a field hand one
day to take the seed out of one pound of cotton. A hand-run
cotton gin could remove the seeds form fifty pounds of cotton
day. A water-powered gin could clean a thousand pounds of cotton
in a day.
As the demand for cotton grew
more and more slaves were needed to plant, hoe, pick, and gin the
crops. Slaves were never paid any wages. The owner had to give a slave
a small cabin, some food, and a suit of clothing. Slaves could not
quit. Their children were the property of the owner and could be sold
like a piece of property.
The climate in the South was
much like the climate in Africa. Slaves were used to working in the hot
sun. The Lower South became a one-crop area. It raised cotton.
Planters in the South were rich
and happy. They lived in big homes overlooking thousands of acres of
cotton land. They spent their spare time with balls and parties. The
life of the slave was hard with long work hours and little time for
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