March 14, 1794: Eli Whitney Gets His Patent

On March 14, 1794, Eli Whitney, a young inventor from Massachusetts, impacted the landscape of American agriculture, industry, and the proliferation of slavery in the United States with his patent for the cotton gin. Born in 1765, Whitney had exhibited a knack for engineering…

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December 20: 1860: The Union Is Shattered

On December 20, 1860, a secession convention in South Carolina voted unanimously to secede from the Union. Fearing that Republican Abraham Lincoln’s administration would appoint antislavery officials who would undermine slavery, slaveholders chose to abandon the Constitution and form their own nation. To justify…

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July 13, 1787: The ‘Northwest’ Becomes Free

The Northwest Ordinance, adopted on July 13, 1787, established a government for the Northwest Territory, outlined state admission process, ensured equality with the original thirteen states, protected civil liberties, and banned slavery in new territories. The Ordinance would play a major role in the…

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