Lesson

The Impact of the Cotton Gin

Lesson Overview

Around the world, people wear cotton clothing, and they have done so for thousands of years. However, cotton did not gain popularity in England until the 15th century, due to the prominence of wool in England.  However, by the late 1700’s, cotton imports to England began to steadily increase.  In 1783, England imported 9,000,000 pounds of cotton.  In 1790, English cotton imports rose to 28,000,000 pounds.  In 1812, English imported 63,000,000 pounds of cotton.  In 1825, England imported 228,000,000 pounds of cotton! (Mirsky and Nevins 1952, 91). Students will examine charts of cotton sales and discover how the cotton production changed and cotton production increased. Finally they will examine if improvements in technology are always good for everyone and discuss what positive and negative results may have resulted from the invention of the cotton gin.

 

Duration
2-3 hours
Lesson Type
Traditional Lesson

Essential Question

Are improvements in technology good for everyone?

Grade(s):

Subject(s):

Other Instructional Materials or Notes:

4

Social Studies

Lesson 1
• Projection device
• Copies of Eli Whitney’s Obituary
• Copies of a student-friendly version of Eli Whitney’s Obituary
• Document Analysis Sheets and Transparency/Projection
• “How Did Eli Whitney Change the South?”  Chart

Lesson 2
• Cotton
• Cotton Gin
• Charts of Cotton Sales and Slave Populations
• Cause and Effect Chart

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