Farming in the 1800s

Topics: Agriculture, Homestead Act, Native Americans in the United States Pages: 4 (835 words) Published: April 21, 2014
Annie Catania
March 5, 2014
AP US History

In the period of 1865 to 1900, American agriculture was greatly affected by technology, government policy, and the economic conditions of the country. At first, the advances and decisions made in these three categories pleased farmers, and they had a positive outlook for the future. Their opinions changed drastically over a prolonged period of time.

From 1865 to 1900 the United States’ railways increased their mileage dramatically (Document B). In 1865 the Railroad stretched about 35,000 miles across the United States. By 1900 it reached 192,556 miles. For farmers, the railroad stimulated agriculture. Railroads took farmers to their land, took their crops to the market, and brought them needed manufactured goods. The farmers appreciated the railroads because it ultimately made their job easier and more convenient. Eventually the railroad began to increase their rates. Farmers could not keep up with the expenses, and many of them began to go bankrupt. Farmers started to despise the railway system. The farmer’s union, Grange, came together to try to fight against the railroads. In the Wabash Case of 1886 it was decided that states had no power to regulate interstate commerce.

The railroad was not the only advancement made in the area of technology. Machines such as the Twine Binder and Combine allowed farmers the capability to increase the amount of crops they were producing at a faster rate (Document D). Farmers wanted to have the machinery on their farms to keep up with the competition, even though it was expensive.

When farmers began to produce more goods, they were hopeful that their economic conditions would improve; however, due to overproduction, they did just the opposite. Unfortunately, farmers did not necessarily understand the concept of supply and demand. Due to an over abundance of crops being produced, the price of the crops decreased (Document A). Farmers may have been...
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