Yet in spite of these advances, the American farmer in the nineteenth century was subject to recurringperiods of critical hardship. Indeed, at the close of the century that greatest farming expansion, the dilemma the the farmer hadbecome a major problem. Several straightforward factors were involved-soil exhaustion, the vagaries that nature, overproduction of staplecrops, decline in self-sufficiency, and also lack of sufficient legislative protection and aid. Southern soil had long been tired bytobacco and cotton culture, but in the west, and on the plains too, floor erosion, wind storms, and insect pests devastated the land.The swift mechanization of agriculture west of the Mississippi had not verified an unmixed blessing. It encouraged countless farmersto expand their holdings unwisely; it created concentration on clip crops; the gave huge farmers a distinct benefit oversmall ones and hastened, in ~ once, the advancement of tenancy and of farming on one extremely big scale. These troubles wereto remain mainly unsolved till the extensive acceptance of contemporary soil conservation techniques numerous years later.Even much more complex, but much more readily vulnerable to swift remedial action, was the trouble of prices. The farmer marketed hisproduct in a competitive civilization market yet purchased his supplies, equipment, and also household goods in a industry protectedagainst competition. The price he gained for his wheat and cotton or beef was identified abroad; the price the paid for hisharvester, his fertilizer, his barbed cable was solved by trusts setup prices behind a protective tariff. Native 1870 to 1890 price ofmost farm commodities moved irregularly downward, and the worth of American farm assets increased only half a exchange rate dollars.In the very same period, however, the value of manufactures boosted by six billion dollars.This financial unbalance resulted in the formation of farmers" organizations to consider usual grievances and propose means ofrelief. Many of these to be patterned after the Grange created in 1867. Within a few years, there to be Granges in almostevery state, and also membership exceeded three-quarters of a million. This groups began chiefly as social organizations designedto diminish the farmer"s isolation. Inevitably, however, your members turned come discussions of business and politics. Speak led toaction, and soon countless of the Granges set up participating marketing organizations, participating stores, and even factories. In anumber the midwestern states, they elected members come the legislature and passed legislations regulating railroads and also warehouses.Many that the Grange service enterprises failed, however, and at the very same time, the farms appreciated a rebirth of prosperity inthe so late seventies. In consequence, the Grange dwindled in importance. The activity it had actually started, however, revived in theFarmers" partnerships which began in the so late eighties and also early nineties. Times were once an ext hard; drought had descended onthe stricken plains; the price the wheat and also cotton plunged. Thus stimulated, the Alliance activity spread quickly and also by 1890it had practically two million members. In addition to comprehensive educational program, these groups made active demands forpolitical reform. Prior to long, the partnerships were metamorphosed right into a crusading political party. Known as the Populists, theyvigorously opposed the old Democratic and Republican parties.


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