A boom period for agriculture. The period from 1815 to 1860 proved a golden age for American agriculture. Demand for American farm products was high, both in the United States and Europe, and agricultural prices and production rose dramatically. A key factor was the increasing importance of cotton. Until the 1790s, cotton was a relatively minor crop because the variety that grew best in the more southerly latitudes contained seeds that were difficult to remove from the cotton boll. In 1793, Eli Whitney of Connecticut learned of the seed problem while visiting friends in South Carolina; he devised a simple machine known as the cotton gin to separate the fiber from the seeds. With cotton demand high from the textile industry in Great Britain and soon mills in New England, Whitney's invention led to the expansion of cotton production across Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, and into Texas. The Cotton
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