Presentation on theme: "In October of 1793, Eli Whitney sent a drawing of his new invention, the cotton gin, to Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson in application for a patent."— Presentation transcript:
In October of 1793, Eli Whitney sent a drawing of his new invention, the cotton gin, to Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson in application for a patent. As Whitney described the device in a letter to Jefferson on November 24, 1793: "The cylinder is only two feet two inches in length and six inches in diameter. It is turned by hand and requires the strength of one man to keep it in constant motion." Finally, in February 1794, Whitney completed the model to his satisfaction. In March he took it to Philadelphia to demonstrate it in the office of the Secretary of State, in order to receive his patent. The patent that Jefferson had approved the previous November was issued to Whitney on March 14, The gin solved the problem inherent in marketing short-staple cotton, which grew easily in warm climates -- the tedious and time consuming task of separating the seeds from the fiber.
"Stowage of the British Slave Ship 'Brookes' under the Regulated Slave Trade, Act of 1788"; shows each deck and cross-sections of decks and "tight packing" of captives. One of the most famous images of the transatlantic slave trade. Source.Source
Inspection Pen (before auction)
Slave Inspection (before auction)
Slave Auction in Virginia
The Value of Slaves Was Their Labor It is a mistake to think that slave labor was simply unskilled brutish work. Cultivation of cotton, tobacco, rice, and sugar requires careful, painstaking effort. On larger plantations, masters relied on slave carpenters, bricklayers, blacksmiths, wheelwrights, tanners, tailors, butchers, masons, coopers, cabinet makers, metal workers, and silversmiths. Large numbers also worked as boatmen, waiters, cooks, drivers, housemaids, spinners, and weavers. At Monticello, Thomas Jefferson worked slave women in a small textile mill and a nail-making factory. For the vast majority of slaves, however, slavery meant back-breaking field work, planting, cultivating, and harvesting cotton, hemp, rice, tobacco, or sugar cane. On a typical plantation, slaves worked ten or more hours a day, "from day clean to first dark," six days a week, with only the Sabbath off. At planting or harvesting time, planters required slaves to stay in the fields 15 or 16 hours a day. When they were not raising a cash crop, slaves grew other crops, such as corn or potatoes; cared for livestock; and cleared fields, cut wood, repaired buildings and fences. Source.Source
Slave labor was efficient, productive, and adaptable to a variety of of occupations, ranging from agriculture and mining to factory work. Slavery was the basis of the nation's most profitable industry. During the decades before the Civil War, slave grown cotton accounted for over half the value of all United States exports, and provided virtually all the cotton used in the northern textile industry and 70 percent of the cotton used in British mills. Furthermore, a disproportionate share of the richest Americans made their fortunes from slavery. In 1860, two out of every three Americans worth $100,000 or more lived in the South. Slave prices soared during the 1850s, an indication of slaveowners' confidence in the future. Source.Source
Growth of the African American Population million 13 percent free million 14 percent free million 13 percent free million 12 percent free million 11 percent free 75 percent of whites did not own any slaves. 10 percent of whites owned most slaves (85%)
This woodcut from 1834 depicts a free black being kidnapped by slavers. The demand for slaves to labor on southern cotton plantations made kidnapping of free persons a common practice.
Since 1800, when the state of Virginia reimbursed slaveowners for the full value of slaves who were executed or exported, the average price of a healthy young slave was $333, while a literate or highly skilled slave might bring as much as $500. As shown on these 1849 records from the Wilton plantation in Louisiana, slaves in their 20s who were regarded as a "good" or even "fair hand" were routinely valued at $700 or $800. Wilton was a sugar plantation that also grew corn and had a sawmill and cooper's shop.
After raw cotton was ginned of its seeds, huge cotton presses were used to form it into uniform bales for shipping and marketing. Advances in technology allowed the continued growth of the cotton industry well after the end of slavery.
One of the most complex relationships was the one that existed between white children and their African American caretakers. White children were often in the unnatural position of standing to inherit the people who raised them, and enslaved nannies were in the similarly unnatural position of caring for the children who would grow up to be their masters. This picture, of slave nurse Louisa and her charge, H. E. Hayward, suggests the inherent tension of these relationships.
These dwellings, located on Florida's St Georges Island, are typical plantation slave quarters.
Traditional Southern Plantation house for the Slave-owners
Slave Escaping by Boat
Letter from escaped slave to her former owner Jane Giles was a slave belonging to Margaret Preston of Lexington. While on a trip to New York, Jane ran away. Later she wrote to her former mistress to explain why. Jane Giles (New York) to Margaret Wickliffe Preston, (Washington D.C.), February 8th 1854 Mrs William Preston Madam. I take this oppertunity to wright you these few lines to inform you that I am well at this time and I hope you are the same. Dear madam I sopose you wonder why that I left you. Well I will tell you the Reason one Reason was because you Parted me and my housbond [husband] as tho we had no feeling and the Next Reason was because you accused me of stealing Money and I was not gilty of it but because I am coulard [colored] You sopose that I have not got any feelings I have feelings thank god as well as you and I sopose you feel the Loss of me as much as I do the loss of you. I worked for you when I was with you and dear madam I am working for my Sealf and let me inform you that I Loved my housbond as well as you do yours if I never see him again in this world but I am in hopes to meet him in Haven I sopose you will call this impedance But I do not I have nothing Against Mr. Preston he treated me well he would not have sent my husbound away had it not been for you and I would have been yet with you. But Never mind Every boddy must have trubble I Remane Yours Source