Helping or Hurting the Farmers

By: Bailey Rogers

Homestead Act

The Homestead Act was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on May 20, 1862. The Homestead Act that invigorated the Western Migration because the government promised the people 160 acres of public land. The families or individual s that moved west had to pay a little filling fee; they were also required to complete five years of continuous residence before receiving the ownership of their 160 acres they were promised. After the they had worked for 6 months on the residence they could decide to buy an acre for $1.25 each. The Act lead to a distribution of 80 million dollars.
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Did the the Homestead Act hurt or help the farmers?

Farmers were not the main group of people that were moving west during the homestead Act. It even hurt just regular settlers that needed somewhere to settle and were wanting to move west. It was good and bad for the farmers because it gave them a free place to live, it gave them free farming land, but it was going to be hard because the ground was not good farm land.
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Transcontinental Railroad

In 1862, the Pacific Railroad Act hired the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific Railroad companies, they had tasked them with building what we know know it as the Transcontinental Railroad that connected the untied States from east to the west.

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Where the Transcontinental Railroad started then ended

Over a time period of seven years, the two railroad companies raced towards each other; one from Sacramento, California on the other one and Omaha, Nebraska on the other, struggling against a great risk before they meet at Promontory, Utah, on the day of May 10, 1869. This helped and hurt the farmers in a way. It helped the farmers because it was going to be way easier to get their good to the east or to markets. It was bad because the price to ship the goods was very high compared to their income.

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High Railroad Shipping Costs

After the majority of farmers moved west and the new inventions there was an over production of crops. When the amount of crops increased, and the demand for crops decreased; the shipping cost skyrocketed. As this happened railroad companies charged the farmers the most they have ever seen to ship the same amount of their crops.
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High Railroad Shipping Costs

The higher prices, and the lower income, hit the farmers really hard. The farmers profits were being lowered even more; as this was happening the farmers felt as if they were being overcharged. The high prices for shipping their crops to markets and to the east was not good. This in no way shape or form helped the farmers; since the farmers weren't selling as much because of the over production of crops they weren't making enough money to pay of the money to ship their goods. This led the farmers into debt.
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Farmers Alliances and Granges

The Granger movement worked to improve economic conditions for farmers, lobbying for the creation of railroad and warehouse commissions in several Midwestern states. Although Supreme Court decisions later undercut the commissions’ power, the movement helped pave the way for the passage of the Interstate Commerce Act in 1887. Originally founded in 1867 by Oliver Hudson Kelley and six others as a fraternal organization for farmers.
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Farmers Alliances and Granges

Grangers helped lower the price paid by each farmer because everyone contributed and paid for equipment and supplies.
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The Populist Movement

The Populist Movement was inspired by the granges. It was started to help farmers that were struggling. The movement strove to implement what we call money but what they called paper money or greenbacks; this was basing the the US dollar on silver and gold, and regulation of business.
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The Populist Movement

Each and every goal of the populist party would help the farmers. Using greenbacks and the US dollar with silver, as well as gold, would create inflation and help farmers pay off their debts. The idea of also regulating business was meant for railroads.
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Bimetalism

Backing up the US dollar with gold and silver became known as Bimetalism. The use of Bimetalism was of course one of the goals of the populist movement. They also called it a free silver policy.
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Bimetalism

This was good for farmers because they believed that the free silver policy would put more money into the economy, and also into farmers pockets.
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Interstate Commerce Commission

The Interstate Commerce Commission was created in 1887 by the Interstate Commerce Act. The Commission was meant to keep railroad rates in check, as well as monitor other things that crossed state lines. This went along with the Populists goal to regulate businesses.
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Interstate Commerce Commission

This helped the farmers because regulating the railroad business kept them from making farmers pay more than they could for shipping their crops.
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