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In a speech in which he reviewed the events
of the past century, Arthur Bullus Bradford in January, 1875,
stated that if the cotton gin had not been invented, slavery would
have been abolished as unprofitable by 1835; and the Civil War
would never had taken place. Before that invention cotton was
grown only in small quantities and was almost without value because
of the difficulty in separating the seeds from the fiber. But
Whitney invented the cotton gin in 1794, and suddenly the picture
changed completely. Slavery became a thriving trade.
If this be true, then but for that invention, there would have been no antislavery movement, no underground railroad, no Civil War and slavery would have died a natural death. History is full of "what-ifs."