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Essay on Agrarian Discontent in Late Nineteenth Century

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Agrarian Discontent in Late Nineteenth Century


At the end of the nineteenth century the American farmers faced many problems. Industrialization of the farms caused many farm workers to loose their jobs. Many farmers began raising only one crop in large amounts, which led to deflation. This meant ruin for many farmers, since they had to pay back the debts they owed for land and machinery. The railroads, corporations and processors made the situation even worse by organizing together and regulating crop prices.

The mechanization of agriculture created a lot of problems for the western farmers. New machinery made crop production much easier and faster. This caused many farm workers to loose their jobs, because such machines as the twine binder and the "combine" replaced them. Also, many farmers saw no need to produce a variety of different crops. Instead, they focused on production of a single crop that they could sell for the most money. They did not produce food for themselves, since it could be bought from the store using their profits.

This single-crop economy worked well as long as the prices were high. However soon the prices soon began to fall. As J. Laurence Laughlin said, "the sudden enlargement of the supply without any corresponding increase of demand produced the alarming fall in price". Nevertheless, farmers continued producing even greater amounts of crop, hoping that the increased production will bring them bigger profits. This deflation in the econom...


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