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Bradford's Theory: Milestones Special Issue

Milestones Vol 30. No. 2

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."