Steinberg's 'The Great Plow Up, The Plains'

810 Words4 Pages
As the famous idiom states, “history repeats itself” and for the environmental history of the North American Planes this saying is especially true. The Dust Bowl while infamous was not the only drought to cause human misery on a massive scale. As Peter Coyote explained in the Great Plow Up, the Plains, (where the Dust Bowl later occurred) was the setting for a cycle of wet years of plenty and dry years of drought. Four decades before the dirty thirties, in the 1890s a lesser known (though no less horrible) drought occurred (Steinberg, 134). Similar to the Dust Bowl, the 1890s drought caused by years of wet weather leading to farmer’s greatly increasing wheat production along with human populations as they moved westwards in search of new beginnings…show more content…
While older people and especially the cattleman that experienced the 1890s should stay grassland with soil unplowed their words fell on deaf ears (The Great Plow Up). As Worster described in The Great Plow Up, the American Breadbasket tended to increase production of wheat regardless of the commodity prices rose or fell. However, when prices rose, as they did with WWI and the government set wheat prices at twice the earlier rate, the Great Plains saw an influx of people looking to become wealthy, especially as the labour became mechanized (Steinberg,…show more content…
For various reason the Dust Bowl was deadly for livestock, including choking on dust, and starvation or mass culling of jackrabbits and later cattle to stabilize prices (The Great Plow Up). FDR 's New Deal unintentionally made society and especially farmers begin to rely on government in times of crisis. The Dust storms only got worse as the 1930s progressed. They were particularly demoralizing and frightening for many people but for the children the dust particles often lead breathing issues such as pneumonia. Women in particular were in a constant losing battle as the dust always came inside building and covered everything. In the garden which they needed to feed their family it was almost impossible to grow anything. Face coverings became a necessity to escape the blinding, unbreathable air found especially in the worst of storms. Depression both psychological and economic became commonplace, leading to many outstanding debts, foreclosures, and

More about Steinberg's 'The Great Plow Up, The Plains'

Open Document