It is widely accepted within the study of history that cotton played a crucial role in the United States in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This lesson allows students to understand the specific causes and consequences of the dramatic increase of cotton production in southern states and its influence on the emergence of the nation’s first major manufacturing industry—textile production. Students will read both primary and secondary sources detailing the growth of both northern industrialization and southern cotton expansion. Additionally, students will develop data literacy skills using FRED® (Federal Reserve Economic Data) and other statistical information to analyze the development of the two regions further. Finally, students complete the lesson by responding to an AP U.S. history exam short-answer, three-part question.
This lesson plan is designed for teaching grades 10, 11, and 12.