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Analyze the Ways in Which Technology, Government Policy, and Economic Conditions Changed American Agriculture in the Period 1865-1900

Autor:   •  February 23, 2012  •  Essay  •  742 Words (3 Pages)  •  5,595 Views

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American agriculture was greatly changed and enhanced from 1865 to 1900 by inventions of new reapers and other crop processing machines that helped to speed the production of crops, and farmers had it hard not only because of the railroads that were cut across their land by the government, which took nearly a one mile strip of land in some cases, but the farmers also faced hardship because the higher the demand for their crops - such as wheat, cotton, and corn - the lower the price of the crops was, and for a period of years many farmers owed more than they made because of the low price of their crops. To the general public the falling price of crops may have seemed like a good thing, but in reality it destroyed the livelihood of many farmers and caused devastation to their families. The production of crops would not be able to continue and keep the prices as cheap as they were leading up to 1900 because it would have put many of America's farmers out of business.

Cyrus McCormick's mechanical reaper and other mechanical reapers really began to become popular after the Civil War because of the time that it saved in harvesting crops (reference Document D). Farming started to be motorized instead of using horses to pull equipment in 1892 with the invention of the gasoline powered tractor by John Froehlich. Also with the increased amount of railroad's being built and the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in 1869, shipping crops was much more efficient but very competitive and expensive for farmers, which is why Illinois has laws limiting the fair for the transport of cargo on rail lines as stated in Document C.

Government grants to build railroads really hindered farmers because they generally took a mile wide strip of their land to build the railroad which was comprised of a one hundred yard right of way for the track itself and then on either side of the track there were square mile blocks, half of which were granted to the railroad company to keep if they chose, and the other half belonged to the government to either keep or sell. Also generally when railroads were built across


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