Helping or Hurting the Farmers?

By: Taylor O'Connell

Homestead Act

Summary

The Homestead Act was when Congress shared land with the state governments to have them give off acres of land in groups of 160 acres at a time to farmers who agreed to take care of them for 5 years. After the 5 years the farmers would have those 160 acres of land for free.

Hurt/ Help?

This helped the farmers I think because this gave them more of a reason to go out west and it got them free land in just 5 years. They didn't have to pay for the land in the first place so this gave them more money for supplies and themselves which farmers did not have a lot of.

Transcontinental Railroad

Summary

The Transcontinental Railroad was a road way that stretched from the west coast to the east. This sent and delivered goods to and from the other side of the country. Chinese and Irish immigrants helped build this until they met somewhere in the middle of the country, which is known as the Promontory Point which is located in Utah an labeled by a golden pole.

Hurt/ Help?

I believe the railroad helped farmers a lot because of the fact that they could receive goods they didn't have in the west/ east and would have never been able to grow or get without crossing the country themselves. It was a fast and easy access to better farming but it got extremely expensive once everyone started using it.

High Railroad Shipping Costs

Summary

The high railroad shipping costs were due to the extreme use of the railroads from farmers. There was a usage tax on everything that got pretty expensive. Farmers started to demand better prices which caused arguments between the government and its farmers.

Hurt/ Help?

I think that the high costs most definitely hurt the farmers. This gave them less money to spend on crops, or utilities or even supplies to keep their farm and home up and running. If the taxes were just to make back how much it was to make the railroad in the first place then it is understandable, but if it is just another way the government was trying to get money off of the farmers who didn't have very much to start with in the first place then that is why they had problems.
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Farmers Alliances and Granges

Summary

Farmers Alliances were farmers of all kinds gathering together to stand up against the unfair treatment they were receiving. They would put their resources together to be able to pay for the shipping costs on the transcontinental railroad, or to purchase supplies such as livestock, machinery, and more crops.

Hurt/ Help?

The granges most definitely helped the farmers by making them work together, and by being able to put their supplies together and get a better price and profit out of it. It made friendships that helped out each other in the rough times.

The Populist Movement

Summary

The populist movement were farmers who decided to make their own movement, called the populist or the people movement. They wanted paper money, "free silver", and regulation of business.

Hurt/ Help?

I believe making this group helped the farmers because they weren't just trying to get the government to change one on one. They were a group of a hundred plus farmers who made sure they had a say in things because they were in charge of making the countries food.
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Bimetalism

Summary

Bimetalism was when the farmers wanted "free silver". This meant that silver and just crazy produced to where you could basically get it anywhere. This lowered the value of it extremely.

Hurt/ Help?

I feel like the over production of silver did hurt the farmers because it was something that had high value and that was found in only that part of the nation at this point. If people hadn't of went and dug up all of it maybe silver wouldn't be as expensive now or they wouldn't have ran out of the money maker so fast.

Interstate Commerce Commission

Summary

The interstate commerce commissions were in charge of the money that trucks, trains, and other vehicles using between state roads would cost. The Farmers Alliance was totally against this as to the prices were too high for them to ship off their crops and other supplies themselves.

Hurt/ Help?

I think those interstate prices were a little too much especially for the farmers. So the prices being too high were hurting the train industry and the farmers pockets.
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