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Tag: Cotton Gin

Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Introductory Comments:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumbThis day, March 14th, has seen some important events in the history of our country. During this primary season of the Presidential Election campaign, we hear a lot about Town Hall Meetings and Caucuses; it was on this day that the first town hall meeting was held in Boston. This day witnessed George Washington side-tracking a potential officer coup d’étate by Continental Army officers with his "Newburgh Address." It was also the day that witnessed UN forces retake Seoul during the Korean War. Eli Whitney was granted a patent for his "Cotton Engine" that made the growing of cotton profitable and ultimately triggered the Civil War to maintain access to slave labor. The FBI issued its first "10 Most Wanted" list on this day and Jack Ruby was sentenced to death for the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald. So, let’s take a closer look at some of these events…

faneuil_hall

This day witnessed several major milestones in the history of our American democracy. In 1743, the first recorded town meeting occurred at Faneuil Hall in Boston. Interestingly, this original meeting became the opportunity for the community to become informed about issues rather than to allow the people to vote on issues of current importance as is done with the caucuses being held during this election season, especially in the Republican Party’s primary landscape. On this day, in 1783, just after the signing of the Treaty of Paris, officers of the Continental Army were ready to rebel and take over the fledgling American government over a pension dispute. As they met in Newburgh, they were ready to march on the Congress when George Washington delivered an unscheduled speech that became known as the "Newburgh Declaration." Both of these events would allow our experiment in representative government, unique in the world at that time, that would culminate in the ratification of the strong United States Constitution in 1789. There, again, Washington arose over the populace zeitgeist to insist on a democratic presidency rather than the monarchy that the colonists were used to from their European heritage.

BE030041 (RM) TMH 03/14/2011At the time that the patent for the "Cotton Engine" (Cotton Gin) was issued to Eli Whitney in 1794, the slave-based economy of the southern states was not well understood. Processing cotton, once grown and harvested, was an intensive, difficult job because of all the seeds in the cotton bolls. This was hard, handwork; not the type of work that non-slaves would do! The cotton gin enabled large amounts of cotton to be process, the seeds removed (and themselves processed into oil) and the cotton ready to spin. This made the planting of large fields of cotton economically attractive, but required slave labor to tend, given all the weeding and harvesting required. This made a slave-based economic system emerge as the key factor in the southern states. As the abolition movement in the north gained momentum, the southern states feared the spread of this non-slave economy into the south, destroying their agrarian way of life. The roots of the civil war might actually be traced back to this invention!

In 1951, the Korean War was the major event on most people’s minds. This was the first "hot" conflict in the Cold War between the democratic Western Powers and the communistic Soviet Union. Each of these major powers had their proxy states: the UN and the United States defended South Korea while the communist People’s Republic of China (PRC) supported North Korea; Korea had been partitioned at the 38th parallel after World War II. This conflict seemed to carry on interminably. On this day, the US Forces, under the UN umbrella, launched Operation  Ripper in 1951. This operation would recapture the South Korean capital of Seoul for the second time. The Korean War would continue until 1953 when two major events occurred: Joseph Stalin, the hard-core dictator of the Soviet Union and developer of the communist expansion scheme, died. The second event that brought this war to a armistice was the election, in 1952, of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, leader of the Allies in Europe during World War II, was elected President. The Korean peninsula remains a hotspot in today’s world.

fbi-most-wanted-fbi_gov_1

Two major law enforcement events also occurred on this day. In 1950, J. Edgar Hoover issued the FBI’s first "10 Most Wanted" list. This list identified those fugitives from justice that were considered the greatest threat to society at any moment. It would help promote capture of the FBI’s "toughest guys" by eliciting info from the American people. The second legal event on this day occurred in 1964 when Jack Ruby was sentenced to death for the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald, the suspected assassin of President John F. Kennedy. A Texas Court of Appeal would overturn the verdict and ordered a new trial. Ruby would die of lung cancer in 1967 while awaiting his new trial.

And now a piece of trivia for the day. Who was the first president to file an income tax return? The answer is Warren G. Harding, president from 1921 to 1923. He was associated with cronies from Ohio who were corrupt; they were convicted and sent to prison! The "Teapot Dome" scandal occurred during his administration and he was known to have at least four affairs during his time in office; Clinton’s indiscretions may not be all that bad! Overall, Harding is considered to be one of the worse presidents that we have had in this country.

We now will proceed to examine some of the events that are associated with day in history... GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2012 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 1745 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Jack Ruby:

[ http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/j/jack_ruby.html ]

    

“Maybe something can be saved, something can be done.”
— Jack Ruby

“Someone had to do it. That son of a bitch killed my President.”
— Jack Ruby

“I am as innocent regarding any conspiracy as any of you gentlemen in the room.”
— Jack Ruby

“It may not be too late, whatever happens, if our President, Lyndon Johnson, knew the truth from me. But if I am eliminated, there won’t be any way of knowing.”
— Jack Ruby

“Jackie Kennedy was magnificent in the days and weeks immediately following her husband’s assassination. She was especially wonderful to me.”
— Pierre Salinger

“I have been used for a purpose, and there will be a certain tragic occurrence happening if you don’t take my testimony and somehow vindicate me so my people don’t suffer because of what I have done.”
— Jack Ruby

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Edited by Gerald Boerner

 

Commentary:

JerryPhotoWhile it sounds like a rather mundane invention, Eli Whitney’s creation of the Cotton Engine, better known as the “Cotton Gin”, in 1793. He received a patent for his invention in 1794 on this day. He did not obtain his fortune from this device due to patent infringements; he did benefit financially from another invention, the use of interchangeable parts in guns! But the cotton gin provided some unexpected results.

Before the cotton gin, the process of separating the cotton fibers from its seed was very labor intensive. This made cotton less attractive to plantation owner than other crops. With the introduction of the cotton gin, cotton became a more attractive crop, especially in the deep south. This resulted in larger plantations, which required more slave labor. Thus, the cotton gin actually facilitated the use of the inhumane practice of slavery.

Cottonfieldpanorama-edited

Slavery was opposed by the industrial north, but the textile industry was dependent on the cotton produced as a result of the cotton gin. So this invention really was a two-headed sword, so to speak: it created an industry that was dependent on slave labor. Even during the Reconstruction period, African Americans and the poor white population in the deep south were in virtual slavery under the share-cropping arrangement by which they survived.

But it’s time to explore the invention of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney and its effects on the industrial revolution and the institution of slavery…  GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 4135 Words ]
    

   

Quotations Related to ELI WHITNEY:

    

“I have not only Arms but a large proportion of Armourers to make.”
— Eli Whitney

“I can make just such ones if I had tools, and I could make tools if I had tools to make them with.”
— Eli Whitney

“I have always believed that I should have had no difficulty in causing my rights to be respected.”
— Eli Whitney

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