Tag Archives: cotton

Cultural Updates: The French Revolution and the Cotton Gin

This paper will be a short summary of two cultural updates from this week. The first being the French Revolution, the second being cotton gin.

The French Revelation came about as the French, seeing America’s success, decided to rebel against un-precedented tyranny. They announced their rebellion by storming a prison called the Bastille.

Having success, France began capturing some American trade ships. French-American relations had greatly deteriorated since the War of Independence. Now, John Adams (the US President at the time) tried to arrange for peace with France. However, this brought upon what is today known as the XYZ Affair. What happened during this affair was that France rejected America’s call for peace. The Democratic-Republicans (a political party at the time) demanded a full release of what had occurred. The symbols “X,” “Y,” and “Z” represent the three officials who dealt with the situation (in order to retain the confidentiality of the identity of the officials).

Eventually, both America and France unofficially declared war on one another. France would capture American trade ships, and America would win naval battles. Finally, America had won enough battles to bring France to the place where they would agree to peace. This peace arrangement was called the Convention of 1800.

The second cultural update marked the beginning of the Industrial Revolution: The cotton engine.  As many of you will recall, plantation owners held slaves for the purpose of doing undesirable labor. Eli Whitney’s invention the Cotton Gin (the shortened form for Cotton Engine) made the process of purifying the cotton more effective, time-economic, and it was an invention that helped rid the slaves of one degrading task. However, this machine’s good qualities were all favorable in the plantation owners’ eyes, but it was all at the slaves’ expense. Because the Cotton Gin made the process of combing out the cotton seeds so much easier and so much quicker, it no longer required the slaves time to do so. Less labor being required to pick the cotton seeds meant that farmers could now grow more cotton…which meant that they needed more slaves to grow and pick the cotton. Thankfully, the slave trade was latter abolished post-Civil War in 1865.