The late nineteenth century was a very difficult time for farmers to make a substantial living. Because of the economy, many farmers found themselves going into large amounts of debt that they were not able to pay, and as a result they were treated unfairly and being taken advantage of. There were many threats to farmers during the late nineteenth century, the most common were railroads, trusts, monopolies, banks, and a great deal of money problems, but not all of these were valid. In the belief that banks and railroad companies were threats to their way of life, the farmers were right about having discontent. Even so, the beliefs that money problems, trusts, and monopolies were threatening to them are not valid.
The introduction of the transcontinental railroad was a large step for America, even so, the railroad industry hurt farmers and other small businesses. All the railroad companies were extremely competitive with each other and took every step necessary to get ahead. This included the railroad companies giving large discounts to businesses that shipped goods very far or in large quantities. Although it would help some, it hurt the farmers specifically a great deal. Since farmers did not need as much transportation, they were charged very unfairly to ship their small amount of goods short distances. Even though the railroad companies understood they were hurting the small farmers, they believe that without the big businesses they would go out of business. The money that the railroad companies lost by giving discounts was made up by charging the farmers higher than average. In The Octopus, a small farmer discovers that the railroad companies increase their shipping costs by three cents a pound, ruining the farmer. Since the farmer was already heading into a great debt, the increase in the price hurt the farmer even more. Sine the farmers were already going into debt from the overproducing of crops and the lower prices they had the right to complain about...
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