Federick Law Olmstead Primary Olmstead Paper Question: Take the the position of a literate reader of the New York Times in 1861 who has just read Olmstead's dispatches. You know about northern agriculture, and you know about the plantation system. (After all, you've read Foner and attended class on 9/24). To what extent does Olmstead seem to actually repreresent the ideas and interests of actual northern yeoman farmers? To what extent is his critique of of the plantation system accurate? So, if you like, write a "letter to the editor," offering your informed critique of Olmstead's writings.
The ideals and interest of actual northern Yeoman farmers are illustrated by Olmstead through the discontent of observational results made in Eastern Virginia, in regards to their way of life in comparison to the north. Olmstead, who grows up in a farm located in New York, was accustomed to seeing men at work, judging their skills, spirits, and value to potential employers or to the community as means of production. In the excerpt of the Federick Law Olmstead it states in the selection that, “And from day to day I saw that, as a landowner, or as a citizen, in a community largely composed, or dependent upon the productive industry, of working people of such habits and disposition as I constantly saw evinced in those of Virginia, I should feel disheartened, and myself lose courage, spirit, and industry” (Olmstead, pg1). To see Virginia’s dependency on the productive industry as opposed to their self sufficiency demonstrates the extent of Olmsted’s faithful representation to yeoman farmers’ ideals. These ideals branched on to subsistence/substance-plus farming. In lecture Professor German stated, “Subsistence is to focuses on maintaining one’s status as a yeoman often meant avoiding participation in market.” This lifestyle approach required farmers to be self-sufficient, making and providing their own food and tools.