By far the most important United States export product in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was cotton, favored by the European textile industry over flax or wool because it was easy to process and soft to tile touch. Mechanization of spinning and Line weaving allowed significant centralization and expansion in the textile industry during
(5) this period, and at the same time the demand for cotton increased dramatically. American producers were able to meet this demand largely because of tile invention of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney in 1793. Cotton could be grown throughout the South, but separating the fiber—or lint—from the seed was a laborious process. Sea island cotton was relatively easy to process by hand, because its fibers were long and seeds were
(10) concentrated at the base of the flower, but it demanded a long growing season, available only along the nation's eastern seacoast. Short-staple cotton required a much shorter growing season, but the shortness of the fibers and their mixture with seeds meant that a worker could hand-process only about one pound per day. Whitney's gin was a handpowered machine with revolving drums and metal teeth to pull cotton fibers away from
(15) seeds. Using the gin, a worker could produce up to 50 pounds of lint a day. The later development of larger gins, powered by horses, water, or steam, multiplied productivity further.
The interaction of improved processing and high demand led to the rapid spread of the cultivation of cotton and to a surge in production. It became the main American
(20) export, dwarfing all others. In 1802, cotton composed 14 percent of total American exports by value. Cotton had a 36 percent share by 1810 and over a 50 percent share in 1830. In 1860, 61 percent of the value of American exports was represented by cotton. In contrast, wheat and wheat flour composed only 6 percent of the value of American exports in that year. Clearly, cotton was king in the trade of the young republic.
The(25) growing market for cotton and other American agricultural products led to an unprecedented expansion of agricultural settlement, mostly in the eastern half of the United States—west of the Appalachian Mountains and east of the Mississippi River.
3. All of the following are mentioned in the passage as reasons for the increased demand for cotton EXCEPT
(A) cotton's softness
(B) cotton's ease of processing
(C) a shortage of flax and wool
(D) the growth that occurred in the textile industry.