The Industrial Revolution and mass production were sweeping America – causing social, political, and geographic changes!

Eli WhitneyInterchangeable Parts (1801)
Eli Whitney developed the idea to make identical parts which would be used to manufacture identical machines.
Originally, he did this for guns – but before long, the concept was used in many different common machines used by Americans.
The advantage to interchangeable parts was that machines became easier to manufacture and much easier to repair!
Better tools meant manufacturing was going to go faster and the tools would be more reliable!

The Mill
The rise of the mill in the 1820’s increased demand for cotton.  It was now much faster and cheaper to create fabric using the power of flowing rivers.  Remember from the colonial times, the short and fast rivers were found in New England.  While this made large-scale farming impractical, these rivers are going to provide the power source for America’s early manufacturing.
Here is how a mill worked:

Textile Mill

Ahhh – but where will these mills get the cotton they so desperately need?
If you are thinking the Southern States, you are correct!
But it’s another invention that helps with this essential economic relationship between the North and the South

Cotton Gin
Invented by Eli Whitney in 1793, this invention did as much for the development of America as any other.  While it looks like just a simple little box, its effects were astronomical.

Cotton Gin

The cotton gin separates the seeds from the cotton fibers.  This used to be done by hand, and was a very long and tedious process.  This innovation allowed a single person to do the work of 15-20!
The demand for cotton, first in Great Britain to satisfy their industrial revolution then in the United States, was satisfied by cotton grown in the American South.
Check out this map that shows the growth of cotton produced in the American South:

Cotton Production

Now what effect would this have slavery?  On the surface, it would seem that slavery would be less due to the labor-saving device…HOWEVER, this was not the case.  Now that fewer slaves would be needed to separate the seeds, more slaves were needed in the fields to plant, grow and harvest the cotton.  Check out this map on the growth of slavery AFTER the invention of the cotton gin:

Slave Growth

King CottonGrowing cotton became very profitable thanks to the cotton gin.  It replaced tobacco as the chief cash crop, and the region became known as “King Cotton”.  Even the small farmers who owned few slaves could produce cotton for a profit.  With eyes for money, southern farmers looked westward as potential farmland to grow more cotton!

Steel Plow and Mechanical Reaper
Cotton grows very well in warm climates, but not so well in the cooler Great Plains.  After the purchase of the Louisiana Territory, farmers from the “Old Northwest” also had their eyes on western movement.  The soil was very fertile, but was also packed down very hard, which made it difficult to plant.
Deere PlowJohn Deere (yes, real guy – not just green tractors) began manufacturing a plow that had a steel tip in 1837.  This reinforced plow was able to cut through the dense soil, turn it, and make planting crops much easier…But what kind of crops?  Cotton would not grow in this climate – but grain crops would, especially wheat!  Oh no – but wheat was also a labor intensive crop to grow and harvest…
McCormick's ReaperCyrus McCormick came to the rescue of the wheat harvest dilemma… In the 1830’s he developed the “mechanical reaper”, which helped western farmers harvest their crops!
With these two labor-saving devices, farmers could be more efficient and produce more of these staple crops…Now, even these farmers had their eyes on western lands as potential areas to expand their farming and increase their revenue.
Of course, the next dilemma;  How do we get the stuff we need and how do we get our crops to the markets back east?

Steamships, Canals and Railroads
So, if you have ever heard the phrase “Necessity is the mother of invention”, it certainly applies here.
Robert Fulton invented the steamship which allowed greater navigation along rivers.  Now, crops and goods could be transported down and back up the rivers with relative ease!
Canals were built to connect different rivers and larger bodies of water to help move products.
The development and growth of the railroad in the 1830’s allowed crops and goods to be transported back and forth between the farmers and the markets without the need for rivers.

Map of Early Transporation

TelegraphSamuel Morse invented the telegraph in 1844.  This enabled messages to be sent in minutes instead of days or weeks.  This rapid flow of information is going to help the nation grow by coordinating orders, plans news.  Now, newspapers became more relevant and current as they could report news around the U.S. almost immediately.

All of these inventions helped spur the feelings of manifest destiny.  We had the tools necessary to support expansion, it was time to go get more land!