Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Who REALLY Invented the Cotton Gin?
It was the slaves! That's what some of my fellow classmates said. We were talking about who should get the most credit for the making of the cotton gin (the invention used to remove cotton seeds from cotton). The man who was given the most credit (in history books anyway) is Eli Whitney. Some say that people before him made a cotton gin, but there was something called a roller gin. Also, some say Eli got credit because the salves were considered things (not people) and women didn' thave rights, and white men could do what they wanted. He got it patented under his name and that's why he got credit. At the end of the debate, our class came to the conclusion that everybody should get credit because they all contributed to it.
In class one day we talked about the cotton gin. the person who made the cotton gin was Eli Whitney. The cotton gin is a machine that would take cotton in one side, remove the seeds with its “teeth” and make fluffy cotton.
We were each assigned a person to learn about and then we had to debate that that person should receive the credit and use our evidence and persuasion to debate with.
I read about a lady named Catherine Green. She helped Eli Whitney fix his machine that was almost done but not working.
The next day we had a debate on it.
The cotton gin debate was mostly on who deserved the credit for the work that they did. I think the African slaves deserve the credit because without them the cotton would have never gotten picked in the first place. I don’t think Eli Whitney deserves anything because all he did was steal the idea of the cotton gin. Eli Whitney took credit from the southern planters.
The day before the debate, our class split into four groups. We were given a person who we had to think invented the cotton gin. Our options were Eli Whitney (the man with the patent), Catherine Greene (who refined the machine by sticking a branch in it), the slaves (whose inventions were often miscredited to their masters) and the southern planters (who had had an invention like this for many years before Whitney). My group was for Eli Whitney, so I had to defend him in the debate, even though I didn't think it was really him. My table's debate ended in us thinking that the slaves and southern planters came together and made them. Both of them would benefit from the invention AND Ms. Trenkle said our class had the most civiled debates! :)
Liz is an 8th grader who has made her high school decision: WALLS!