Q: Analyze the ways in which technology, government policy, and economic conditions changed American agriculture in the period 1865-1900. In your answer be sure to evaluate the farmers’ responses to these changes.
The latter half of the nineteenth century was a dramatic time of change for the United States. Coming out of the Civil War, the country needed to learn to move forward and develop a new identity. With this new identity came a new agricultural system. The United States spent a significant part of the nineteenth century in economic turbulence. The panics of 1857, 1873, and 1893 were indicative of the instability of the American economy. The United States was also in the middle of the Second Industrial Revolution. The latter half of the nineteenth century was a time of technological growth as railroads and mechanization sweeped the country. Using technology to increase farm production was a strategic move that helped the American agricultural system. Unfortunately, an unstable economy and battles over governmental policy threatened this traditional American way of life. Discontented farmers formed groups such as the Populist Party to try and combat unfavorable government policies. The growth of technology, government policy, and an inconsistent economy drastically changed American agriculture in the period between 1865-1900.
Between the years of 1865 and 1900, the economy of the United States constantly ebbed and flowed. The United States went through panics (1873, 1893) as well as periods of prosperity. This instability greatly affected the agricultural life. As seen in Document A, the prices of crops such as wheat, cotton, and corn varied greatly over the time period. At times, American agriculture suffered from overproduction and falling prices that put many farmers in a lot of trouble. On the other hand, many farmers became quite successful during the latter half of the nineteenth century. Document G also supports the theory of inconsistency....
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