Cotton was grown all over the deep south primarily Georgia, the Carolinas, Alabama, and Mississippi, which was the leading producer at the time that the Civil War broke out. Slaves were an economic advantage to planation owners, since the amount of work the slaves yielded exceeded the costs of caring for them. THe cotton industry survived though without slavery, possibly because technology was even more important. By 1870 the U.S. was producing more cotton than it had in 1860 when slavery was still an institution.
Cotton was mostly grown in the Southern states (namely Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas), but was used to fund both the South and the continuous development of the North. Though slavery was technically illegal due to the Northwest Ordinance of 1787–which barred slavery from new territories–and the formal end to the foriegn slave trade in 1808, the number of slaves nearly quadrupled from 1790-1860. Without slaves, it would have been impossible for the south to meet the world wide demand for its products (namely tabacco and cotton), and because the expense of a slave was less than the value they produced, planters were raking in a whole lot of money at a very low cost. Profits increased in the early 1800’s as prices for cash crops increased and the cost of keeping slaves remained the same. The advent of the cotton gin didn’t really decrease the South’s dependency on slavery, but rather, seemed to increase it. They were able to clean cotton at a much faster rate than before, but they still needed to pick the cotton and feed it through the gin. This required a greater amount of land, and thus, a greater amount of workers. Cotton became a cash crop because of the high volumes planters could turn out in a little amount of time, and it is still a huge industry in America today.
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