Technology, government policy, and economic conditions changed American agriculture in the period of 1865-1900 in numerous ways. In the late 19th century, new farm machinery made a huge impact. It gave farmers the opportunity to produce more crops then they ever previously been able to produce. Railroads also had an effect on the agriculture. They charged farmers fees that they were barely ever were able to pay back. The industry played a role in which they created monopolies and gained immense amount of wealth which dominated the farmers. The monetary policy along with the steadily dropping prices of agricultural produce led farmers further into debt, eventually producing outcomes such as the crop-lien system and sharecropping. All of these tie into government policy, which, more often than not, favored the large and wealthy industries and monopolies over the farmers.
Over the period of 1865-1900, Document A shows that agriculture was steadily declining. Wheat went from $2.16 a bushel to $.62. Cotton and corn both declined also, dropping from $.83 to $.10 a pound and $.52 to $.35 a bushel, respectively. Farmers were gradually losing profit from their produces. They thought they could compensate by producing more and more products, but this eventually caused overproduction and the prices hastily fell. Document A shows the trend of overproduction. Document G shows that all of the farmers’ difficulties could not just be blamed on overproduction alone. Railroad technology grew between 1870-1890 as Document B points out. As farmers exhausted soil in the eastern and central parts of the country, they had to continue spreading westward. As they expanded farther west, they reluctantly became more dependent on the railroads.
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