There are many people that effected the United States of America during the Civil War. There are even people that many claim probably changed the outcome of the Civil War by their inventions and innovations. Among these people is Eli Whitney. Eli Whitney is most known for his creation of the cotton gin, which was revolutionary during the civil war because it heavily changed how the South was able to farm and sell cotton, which in turn changed their economy and gave the South the advantage of a prosperous cotton industry which was far more advanced than the North’s ethod of cotton picking.
Since cotton picking was mostly a slave Job, the cotton gin affected slavery greatly. Eli Whitney was born in Westborough, Massachusetts from his mother Elizabeth Fay and Eli Whitney Sr. His father at the time of his birth was a successful farmer, and his mother stayed at home. He grew up on a farm, however he was mostly interested in the field of technology and inventions of the future. He sought to make the life of a farmer easier and more efficient, and learned many things about how farm work was done by living on the farm. At Just the age of 11, his mother died of atural causes (1777).
At the age of 14, he worked with his father in his workshop, manufacturing things such as nails. Eli later became at expert at making nails from a machine that he himself had invented. He became good at making, creating, and crafting things, as later in his life he created hairpins for women and canes for the elderly. All of this was during the Revolutionary War. He had dreamed of going to college, but his stepmother did not approve, and didn’t allow him to go. Instead, she wanted him to be a tutor and/or a farm laborer. However, Eli Whitney still pursued is goal of going to college, and prepared to go to Yale at what is now Becker College.
He did end up attending Yale and graduating in 1792. Eli Whitney had originally planned to go into the field of law, but due to him being low on money, he was not able to do this, and became a private tutor and was to move to South Carolina to perform this Job. However, instead of settling in South Carolina, he ended up visiting Georgia. The reason for this was because in the late 1700s, many English people sought fortunes in Georgia. Eli Whitney was famous for two inventions, both of which ere used by the North and South during the Civil War.
The first of which was not an invention, but rather a concept that could be applied to many materials. This was the concept of interchangeable parts. With this implication, Eli Whitney proposed that objects with multiple working parts shouldn’t be required to use only the parts and materials that it was built with. Eli’s idea inspired customization and optimization, which made gun manufacturers create certain supplies for guns that would be used depending on the situation, and not Just buying guns. This widened the availability of different types of guns, and different parts for the guns.
Interchangeable parts was an idea mostly used in the North, and not the South. This is where the “split” comes in for Eli’s inventions. The North used his idea of IntercnangeaDle parts, wnlle tne soutn usea Ell wnltneys more well-known Inventlon: the cotton gin. This is what Eli Whitney is most famously known for inventing. The name “cotton gin” is short for cotton engine. It was created in 1793 and patented in 1794. The point of the cotton gin is to separate seeds from cotton quickly and fficiently. Before the cotton gin, seeds had to be hand-picked out of the cotton itself, and spread along the fields.
Compared to the old method, this was completely revolutionary for the cotton industry and helped the South’s economy grow tremendously. The first cotton gins were simple. They consisted of only a wooden cylinder and spikes on its side. The cotton gins were able to pick around 50 pounds a day, which was an extraordinary amount compared to before its invention, of which slaves would be lucky to even get 5 pounds worth in a single day. With an easier and more ffective way of picking cotton, several slave owners found little use for the slaves that had previously been used to pick the cotton, and sometimes set them free, or sold them.
This also helped the economy, by reducing the amount of money Southerners spent, while increasing the profit. Eli Whitney was a married man, he married Henrietta Edwards in 1817. Henrietta was the grand-daughter of Jonathan Edwards (a famous theologist), daughter of Pierpoint Edwards (was head of the Democratic Party in Conneticut) and coustin of Timothy Dwight, who was the president of Yale. In marrying Henrietta Edwards, this llowed him to have connections with important political fgures which further helped his success. Eli Whitney died from prostate cancer in 1825.
His place of death was New Haven. He was 59 at the time of his death, and left behind his wife and four children when he died. It was discovered after his death that Eli Whitney had created some machines, even while he was dying, to ease his own pain and let his final days be less stressful and painful. It is unknown what exactly the machines do, or if they had even worked, but it is still interesting to see that Eli Whitney was able to stay actively nterested in technology and moving forward even in the midst of his death.
Eli Whitney is remembered as the man that possibly changed the course of the civil war without intention, and changed many lives Just by doing what he loved most. Today, there is a technical high school in Connecticut named Eli Whitney Technical High School. There is also an Eli Whitney Museum and Workshop in New Haven, CT. http://www. biography. com/people/eli-whitney-9530201 The Americans by McDouggal Little published in 2008 The Story of Eli Whitney by Jean Lee Latham