Conor Collins February 25, 2016
Mother Blatt US History Period 8
DBQ ESSAY ON FARMERS
Society in America in the early 19th century has been influenced and advanced by the growth of farming crops and plantations. America was mostly a land of farms early on, but with the growth of industrialization and urbanization in the late 19th century came an important change in America. Trying to sustain the job of a farmer during this period became difficult, agitating, and harsh, where small farmers could not compete with society and its large businesses. Due to laissiez-faire, farmers could not receive any aid from the government. This led to the government not being involved.
The unfair practices of railroads, where big businesses got cheap long distances and small businesses got expensive short distances, and the decreasing prices of crops caused the ...view middle of the document...
This caused the decrease of crop prices, where the farmers did not earn enough in profits to hold their own, let alone stay afloat in society and their economic situations. Farmers then needed to figure out a way to pay off their debts to the “money-lenders of the East” (Doc. 2). This could be compared to loan sharks in today’s world. People need money that the bank will not supply them, so they get it from loan sharks, but when they are unable to pay the loan sharks back, bad things happen, even murder. Farmers wanted more money (currency switch), because it would allow them to pay off their loans with more inflated money.
Some people and parties wanted more money printed, while others, such like the Populist Party, wanted free and unlimited coining of silver and gold at the present legal ratio of 16 to 1 (Doc. 1). Farmers wanted money to be backed by silver because gold was more finite/rate, so money back by gold could not be as abundant as money backed by silver. Farmers thought that the only way to fix their problems with debts and money lenders of the east was to put more money in circulation. They fought for the increased coinage of silver and the decreased reaction of silver to gold. They did not give up until they got what they demanded.
The plight of farmers in the late 19th century was caused by unfair and unjust railroad prices, the decreasing prices of crops, and currency issues. Small farmers had to compete with the big farmers in order to stay afloat in society, and to do this, they bought new and expensive machines to be able to crop and harvest more. This put them in a huge debt. This is why they wanted an inflated money system/ change in currency, so they could pay these debts off. They fixed the silver standard. Despite the plight and problems the farmers faced in the 19th century, they were able to over come them and be great once again.