An analysis of the agrarian discontent in the late 1800s

In class we have to right a thesis for the dbq. Here is the question Using the documents and your knowledge of the period, a explain the reasons for agrarian discontent and b evaluate the validity of the farmers' complaints.

An analysis of the agrarian discontent in the late 1800s

The country was for once free of the threat of war, and many of its citizens were living comfortably.

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However, as these two decades went by, the American farmer found it harder and harder to live comfortably. Crops such as cotton and wheat, once the bulwark of agriculture, were selling at prices so low that it was nearly impossible for farmers to make a profit off them.

Furthermore, improvement in transportation allowed foreign competition to materialize, making it harder for American farmers to dispose of surplus crop. Finally, years of drought in the midwest and the downward spiral of business in the As a result of the agricultural depression, many farm groups, most notably the Populist Party, arose to fight what farmers saw as the reasons for the decline in agriculture.

During the last twenty years of the nineteenth century, many farmers in the United States saw monopolies and trusts, railroads, and money shortages and the demonetization of silver as threats to their way of life, though in many cases their complaints were not valid.

The growth of the railroad was one of the most significant elements in American economic growth.

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However, in many ways, the railroads hurt small shippers and farmers. Extreme competition between rail companies necessitated some way to win business. To do this, many railroads offered rebates and drawbacks to larger shippers who used their rails.

An analysis of the agrarian discontent in the late 1800s

However, this practice hurt smaller shippers, including farmers, for often times railroad companies would charge more to ship products short distances than they would for long trips. The rail companies justified this practice by asserting that if they did not rebate, they would not make enough profit to stay in business.

We can take the latter at a very low rate than go without it. Later, when asked the consequences of charging local traffic the same rate as through freight, Mr. Bankruptcy, inevitably and speedy While the railroads felt that they must use this practice to make a profit, the farmers were justified in complaining, for they were seriously injured by it.

A perfect example of this fact can be found in The Octopus by Frank Norris. A farmer named Dyke discovers that the railroad has increased their freight charges from two to five cents a pound.

Agrarian Discontent | Novelguide

He stood there ruined. The railroads regularly used rebates and drawbacks to help win the business of large shippers, and made up this loss in profit by increasing the cost to smaller shippers such as farmers.

As a result, many farmers, already hurt by the downslide in agriculture, were ruined. Thus, the farmers of the late nineteenth century had a valid complaint against railroad shippers, for these farmers were hurt by the unfair practices of the railroads.

Near the end of the nineteenth century, business began to centralize, leading to the rise of monopolies and trusts. Falling prices, along with the need for better efficiency in industry, led to the rise of such companies as Carnegie Steel and Standard Oil, which controlled a majority of the nation.In the national elections of the s and s, the Democratic platform differed only by degrees from the Republican.

An analysis of the agrarian discontent in the late 1800s

For years, both parties practiced the corrupt policy of doling out civil service jobs to party lackeys, while at the same time calling - feebly - for reform of the system. The Grange Movement, A Spotlight on a Primary Source by torin The Patrons of Husbandry, or the Grange, was founded in to advance methods of agriculture, as well as to promote the social and economic needs of farmers in the United States.

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Agrarian Discontent | Novelguide