The Economy of the Southern States


US History Life Before the Civil War The Economy of the Southern States
Students learn about the agricultural economy of the southern states. Then they explore the cotton gin's effect on slavery and the economy of the South. Finally, students evaluate the correlation between cotton production and the growth of slavery by producing a bar graph and they learn about the importance of interchangeable parts.

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Overview

In this experience, students learn about the agricultural economy of the southern states. Then they explore the cotton gin’s effect on slavery and the economy of the South. Finally, students evaluate the correlation between cotton production and the growth of slavery by producing a bar graph and they learn about the importance of interchangeable parts.

Students will collaborate in small groups for scene 2 to scene 4.

Objectives:

  • Identify how the development of the cotton gin affected the South.
  • Describe the agricultural economy of the South.


As you have learned, inventions and innovations created during the Industrial Revolution had a great impact on the economy and social structure of the entire country. Some inventions, like the steam engine, transformed factories in the North and became the catalyst for growth in the immigrant population and the cities of the northeastern seaboard.

In the South, there was one invention that was developed during the Industrial Revolution that managed to change almost every aspect of the southern agricultural economy and way of life.

Objectives:

  • Identify how the development of the cotton gin affected the South.
  • Describe the agricultural economy of the South.




Look at the invention shown in the photo. What do you think it is?

Post your answer

What might this invention have been used for?

Post your answer

Discuss with students some of their responses. Explain to them that the invention pictured is the cotton gin, a term short for cotton engine, invented by Eli Whitney in 1793. It was used for removing seeds from cotton. This task had previously been done by hand and took a long time to accomplish. The cotton gin enabled cotton to be cleaned about fifty times faster than doing it by hand.

Mention to students that in this experience they will learn about the invention of the cotton gin and how it was able to single-handedly transform the economy of the South.


Divide students into small groups for the next three scenes. When everyone is ready to continue, unlock the next scene.

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