The Economics of Slavery: Black History Month, Part 4

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Episode Description:
The South became increasingly dependent on the labor of enslaved African Americans, especially after the invention of the cotton gin in 1793. Cotton was a main cash crop. This dependence on forced labor led to the refusal of the South to abolish slavery.

Script for The Economics of Slavery: Black History Month, Part 4

60-Second Civics, Episode 4246: February 4, 2021

The Economics of Slavery: Black History Month, Part 4




Welcome to 60-Second Civics, the daily podcast of the Center for Civic Education. I'm Mark Gage.


Both the North and the South benefited economically from slavery.


In the South, slaveholders exploited the free labor of enslaved African Americans to grow indigo, rice, sugarcane, tobacco, and cotton, among many other crops on both large plantations and small plots of land.


Cotton became the major crop after the invention of the cotton gin in 1793 allowed greatly increased production, and cotton was exported to the North and to Great Britain to be made into cloth.


The South became economically dependent on slave labor. 


In the North, the economy was more diversified, and enslaved people were forced to perform a wide variety of occupations, from sailors to skilled craftsmen.


Enslaved people were considered property by slaveholders and by the law.


Over time, Northern states began to abolish slavery, but the Southern states refused to do so, having invested too much in the system of slavery that fueled the Southern economy.


That’s all for today’s podcast.


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