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The Plight of 19th Century Farmers

            American society of the early nineteenth century has been characterized by the flourishing of farming and country life. During its early history and well into the 1800s, America remained largely a land of farms and small country towns, but with the arrival of industrialization and urbanization in the late nineteen century came a significant change in rural America. Farm life for many Americans during this period became frustrating and harsh, as small farmers attempted to compete in the newly industrialized society. Farmers couldn't seek aid from the federal government due to the prevailing lassiez-faire attitude, which prevented the government from regulate business. It is clear that the plight of farmers in the late nineteenth century was caused by the unfair practices of railroads along with the dropping prices of crop sand problems regarding currency. Farmers proposed to resolve these problems by advocating for the silver standard and through the organization of groups such as the Populist Party in order to protect their interests. By coming together farmers were able to overcome the prejudices fade by railroads and they're able to propose a solution to the urgency issues.
             The plight of farmers in the late nineteenth century was caused, in part, by the unfair practices of railroads along with the falling prices of crops. Increased American agricultural production and competition from countries throughout the world caused the falling process of crops such as wheat and cotton. As prices of crops fell, farmers in debt felt the need to growth more crops in order to pay off debts, exacerbating the problem of over production and further decreases in crop prices (Doc. 3). For example, in 1886 America was producing 200 million bushels of wheat at two dollars per bushel, but in 1895 about 550 million bushels of wheat were produced at only fifty cents a bushel (Doc. 5). The decrease in the value of crops prevented farmers from paying off their never-ending debts, resulting in foreclosures by banks and many farmers were forced to become sharecroppers.

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