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Industrialization of Agriculture

Autor:   •  February 8, 2012  •  Essay  •  290 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,234 Views

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What changed America and agriculture was not just the wonders of new technology or the comfort and speed of travel; the true fascination was the industrial order that underlay all of those technologies and made them possible. The process of industrialization began in the United States at least three decades before the Civil War. Much of the economy had remained local. It was only after the 1850s that the industrial economy allowed larger factories and bigger machines to produce goods with greater efficiency. Industrial technology had made some natural resources more valuable, such as kerosene for lamps, or oil for machinery. However, abundant resources and new inventions were worthless to industry until they could be moved to plants, factories, and offices.

In the period 1865-1900, technology, government policy, and economic conditions all had significantly changed American agriculture. The end of the Civil War marked a turning point in the United States. Our nation had finally answered the question of slavery and by doing so ushered in a period of transition in agriculture. New farming machinery had an important role in the late 19th century, giving farmers the opportunity to produce many more crops than they had ever been able to previously. As technology improved, more Americans were forced off the farm and into urban areas to become part of the factory labor force. As farms became more mechanized, the price of goods drastically changed, forcing the foreclosures of family-run farms and the emergence of corporate agriculture. Additionally, presidential administrations during the last part of the nineteenth century were supportive of this change. Farmers were often left with few choices. Changing with the times or banding together might help, but ultimately if they did not evolve into society, they would not survive.

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