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The 18th Century
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Eli Whitney and the Cotton Gin
This member of the Class of 1792, invented the mechanism that gave the South its King, cotton. While on the plantation of Nathanael Greene's widow in Georgia, Whitney designed the cotton gin which made the spread of slavery and cotton profitable throughout the Southeast. Upon returning to New Haven and finding it difficult to obtain sole rights to the invention of the cotton gin, he began the mass production of guns for the Federal Government. It was this business venture that made Whitney a wealthy man, and helped instigate the Industrial Revolution in the United States.

Eli Whitney (1765-1825) b. in Westborough, Massachusetts, Class of 1792