In 1790, Samuel Slater built the first American cotton-
spinning machine in Rhode Island. Three years later, Eli
Whitney invented the , a machine that removed the
cotton seeds from the fibers. Soon the cotton industry in the
South became very , and plantation owners wanted
to maintain slavery, and profitability, at all costs.
Machines Change Our Nation
Before long were rapidly changing life in the nation.
Eli Whitney manufactured muskets for the U. S. Army; Francis
Cabot Lowell built a factory that could complete the entire
cloth-making process; a factory town was built in Lowell,
Massachusetts; Cyrus McCormick improved the for
farming; and John Deere built a steel plow that could cut
through tough roots, thus making farming easier.
New Ways to Travel
One of the major problems the nation faced was decent
public . Starting in the early 1800s transportation
was greatly improved with the building of the ,
the invention of the by Robert Fulton, and the
construction of the , which connected the port of
New York with the Great Lakes.
An inventor in England built the first rail car powered by a
in 1829. Peter Cooper learned of this invention
and brought it to the attention of the Baltimore and Ohio
Railroad Company. By 1830, Cooper had built his own small
locomotive called the .