Eli Whitney, the Cotton Gin, Interchangeable Parts, and Sectional Specialization   

Eli Whitney perfected the use of the cotton gin through his invention of interchangeable parts. These parts are uniform pieces that can be easily replaced. The parts allowed for more efficient production. People, now thinking about maximum efficiency, began to divide crops and jobs based on the region on they lived in, a concept  also known as sectional specialization.

Eli Whitney

This letter was written by Whitney to his father. The letter talks about Whitney's "southern expedition" to Georgia. In this expedition, Whitney learned, at the Mulberry Grove Plantation, "the extreme difficulty in ginning Cotton, that is, separating it from its seeds." Whitney then wrote about his idea to create a machine that could separate "ten times as much cotton" that that of one man.

This document is an ad about "Cotton Ginning". The ad was the first ad of Miller & Whitney's cotton gin. In order to make money, Miller and Whitney wrote in the ad that, in exchange of the use of the cotton gin, the planters must give one pound of cotton for every five pounds brought to the gin.

This primary source was Eli Whitney's patent for the cotton gin. Whitney's idea for interchangeable parts began with Whitney's cotton gin. Whitney called interchangeable parts his "uniformity system." The inspiration of the idea of interchangeable parts came from the cotton gin that Whitney had developed.

The more technology developed, the more specialization of industry, the North experienced the specialization of commerce and farming. Entire cities could specialize in just one specific commodity. Because of the specialization farmers stopped growing wide varieties of crop to feed themselves, and instead began specializing in cash crops which could yield much more profit.

The cotton gin was one of the many inventions of the time (sewing machines, telescopes, etc.) and all these inventions, along with increased factory work and manufacturing, revolutionized American industry. As a result, the cotton gin also rejuvenated slavery, which made cotton production more efficient and profitable.  

Comment Stream