This module has four parts. The first displays the dramatic growth of cotton production in the United States from 1790 to 1860. The second displays the spread of slavery during those same decades. The third allows you to compare the two trends on a single screen, and the fourth graphs the spectacular growth of cotton as a key export crop during this period . As the first map makes clear, cotton was an insignificant crop in the United States prior to 1800. By 1860, however, cotton production dominated large portions of the American South and was by far the most lucrative agricultural commodity in the entire nation. The second map shows that slavery was concentrated in the Chesapeake and Carolina areas in 1790, where it was still principally associated with the growing of tobacco. By 1860, however, riding the great wave of cotton production, the use of slave labor had spread across the entire South. Comparing the two maps will permit you to draw some conclusions about the relationship between these two developments.

Please send all inquiries to