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Helping or Hurting Farmers?

Module 1 Lesson 3 Assignment
by

Erin Schulte

on 31 August 2014

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Transcript of Helping or Hurting Farmers?

Introduction
As American settlers moved west, farming became
more and more popular, causing an increase in
farm products but a decrease in the demand for
such products. This resulted in overproduction. Profit for individual farmers decreased and debt
became more and more common. Many different
ideas were considered for increasing farm product
prices and therefore increasing profit for the farmers out West, though not all of these ideas were beneficial. Also, many different factors impacted the economy, leading to more problems that contributed to the unstable state of farm product prices.
The Populist Movement
The Populist Movement was a large political movement that was formed by farmers who shared similar complaints, such as high railroad shipping costs, increased debt, and low crop prices. The people involved with this movement supported the use of greenbacks (paper money), which they believed would help the nation's debt and increase the lives of farmers by raising crop prices. This movement eventually resulted in the creation of the Populist Party.
Help or Hurt?
The Populist Movement
helped
farmers by allowing them to freely express their opinions in a way where the country as a whole would listen. They supported many different ideas, such as the use of grenbacks as a national currency, to improve the lives of farmers who were struggling with debt. Also, they proposed other ideas, such as bimetallism and the increased regulation of business.
Bimetallism
Bimetallism, also known as "free silver", was a policy that based the US dollar on silver as well as gold. This policy was avidly supported by the Populists because they believed that it would increase the amount of money in the economy, which would help farmers fix their financial problems.
Help or Hurt?
Bimetallism
helped
farmers in this time period by increasing the amount of money in the economy, and therefore increasing the spending money of Americans. Bimetallism increases the stability of prices due to the larger monetary base and it also has a semi-fixed exchange rate, making trading simpler and more efficient.
Conclusion
Through hard work and cooperation, farmers in the Western region of the United States managed to increase the quality of their lives. They faced many hardships, such as unfavorable weather and land to use for agriculture, but they overcame the odds and managed to establish viable forms of income. By assisting one another and creating alliances, farmers changed American society as a whole and created a better future for many more generations of farmers.
By Erin Schulte
Helping or Hurting Farmers?
American Western Movement
Homestead Act
The Homestead Act of 1862 was enacted to help accelerate the movement of Americans to the West. The Act designated 160 acres of land to each participant in exchange for promising to cultivate the land for 5 years. After the 5 year time period, the participant was granted the property for free (except for a small registration fee).
http://www.nps.gov/home/planyourvisit/150th-anniversary-of-the-homestead-act-continues-in-2013.htm
Help or Hurt?
The Homestead Act
helped
farmers because it
granted them land at a very low price, and then they were given complete ownership of the land after the 5 year cultivation period. It especially helped those who did not already own farms to gain land so that they could begin a farm.
http://tdl.org/txlor-dspace/bitstream/handle/2249.3/200/02_hmstd_act.htm?sequence=7
Transcontinental Railroad
The Transcontinental Railroad connected the Western US to the Eastern US. This railroad made transportation of goods (cattle, crops, and grains) a lot easier and more time efficient. A gold spike was driven into the ground at the site where the western part of the railroad and the eastern part of the railroad connected (Promontory Summit, Utah Territory).
http://www.tcrr.com/
Help or Hurt?
The Transcontinental Railroad
helped
farmers that were living in the Western US. The railroad allowed farmers to move their goods quickly into towns where they could be sold. However, the Transcontinental Railroad raised its shipping costs along with other railways, which led to future problems for farmers.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Transcontinental_Railroad
High Railroad Shipping Costs
As more and more individuals moved West, railroads became one of the main means for transportation of goods as well as people. During the mid-late 1800s, railroads began to raise their shipping costs, which affected the whole country.
http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs178/1101193641895/archive/1114817926842.html
Help or Hurt?
High railroad shipping costs
hurt
farmers that lived in the Western US. Due to overproduction, there was a surplus of farm goods, which meant that each farmer had a small profit margin. As the price of railroad shipping increased, it was harder for farmers to make a profit by shipping their goods and it also increased the price of buying supplies for farms, such as grain and hay.
http://floridamemory.com/blog/author/beth/
Farmers Alliances and Granges
Farmers Alliances, or granges, were groups of farmers that worked together to increase their overall profit. They pooled their resorces in order to buy new farm equipment and supplies. Also, these alliances worked together to sell their crops at prices that would increase their overall profit. The Southern Farmers' Alliance and the Colored Farmers' Alliance were two prominent granges in the 1800s.
http://www.ailf.org/exhibit/ex_irishim.htm
Help or Hurt?
Farmers' Alliances and granges
helped
farmers when they started to struggle in the late 1800s. By combining their efforts, it was possible for them to fight against high railroad prices and increase their profit margin when compared to trying to work alone. The growth of alliances and granges in the West led to much larger movements in the future concerning crop prices, transportation prices, and high amounts of debt.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_National_Grange_of_the_Order_of_Patrons_of_Husbandry
http://209.134.55.115/exhibitions/online/exhibition-archives/congress-and-the-civil-war/general-welfare/from-gold-to-greenbacks/3269-greenbacks-united-states-notes-issued-march-10-.html
https://www.boundless.com/u-s-history/textbooks/boundless-u-s-history-textbook/the-gilded-age-1870-1900-20/the-agrarian-and-populist-movements-155/the-farmer-s-alliance-834-8272/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eagle_%28United_States_coin%29
www.rarecoincollector.net
Interstate Commerce Commission
The Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 helped to establish the Interstate Commerce Commission, which primarily regulated railroad rates when it was created, along with regulating trade between individual states. President Grover Cleveland signed the Act into law. It was the first regulatory commission established in the history of the United States.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_Commerce_Commission
Help or Hurt?
The Interstate Commerce Commission
helped
farmers by regulating railroad rates across the United States. By doing so, the Commission made it cheaper and easier for farmers to distribute their products and decreased the amount of debt that farmers had accumulated from high railroad shipping costs.
http://up150.com/timeline/interstate-commerce-commission
Full transcript