The Farmers Revolt During the Gilded Age


The Changing Lives of American Farmers



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The Changing Lives of American Farmers

Agricultural Productivity 

 

1800

1900 

Wheat

Worker-hours to produce an acre

56

15

Yield per acre

15

14

Corn

Worker-hours per acre

86

38

Yield per acre

25

26

Cotton  

Worker-hours per acre

185

112

Yield per acre

147

191

Questions to think about:

1. How great was the increase in agricultural productivity between 1800 and 1900?

2. Why did agricultural productivity increase between 1800 and 1900?

3. Describe the social and economic consequences of increasing agricultural productivity?



---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Trends in American Farming


Percentage of Labor Force in Agriculture 

1860

53%

1870

52 %

1880

51 %

1890

43 %

1900

40 %

1910

31 %

1920

26 %

1930

21 %



 Farming Profession

 

Number of Farms
(in thousands)

Proportion of Total Population

1940

6,350

23.1 %

1950

5,648

15.2 %

1960

3,963

8.7 % 

1970

2,949

4.7 % 

1980

2,428

2.7 %



U.S. Population  

Year

Total Population
(in millions)

Rural

Urban

1870

40

74% 

26% 

1880

50

72 %

28 %

1890

63

65 %

35 %

1900

76

60 %

40 %

1. When did the steepest decline take place in the proportion of American workers earning their livelihood in agriculture?

2. How did rural growth compare with urban growth?

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Farming



Farm Production

Year

Number of Farms (in millions)

Bales of Cotton

Bushels of Corn

Bushels of Wheat

Price Index
1860=100

1860

2

3.8

839

173

100

1870

2.7

4.4

1,124

254

140

1880

4

6.6

1,706

502

100

1890

4.6

8.7

 1,65

449

90

1900

5.7

10.1

2,662

599

90

Discussion Questions:

1. What happened to farm production after the Civil War?

2. What happened to farm prices?

Growth of Farm Tenancy
Percentage of Farms Operated by Tenants 

 

U.S.

South

Non-South

1880

26

36

19

1900

35

47

26

Discussion Questions

1. Did farm tenancy grow in the late l9th century? By how much?

2. Was the growth of farm tenancy largely confined to the South? Or was it a national phenomenon?

Regional Differences in Urbanization
Percent Living in Cities of 2,500 or more

 

1860

1900

Northeast

36

66

Midwest

14

39

West

16

41

South

7

15



Regional Differences in Per Capita Income
Per Capita Income as a Percentage of U.S. Income

 

1860

1900

Northeast

139

137

Midwest

68

103

West

n.a.

163
(This figure reflects high incomes in mining)

South

72

51

Discussion Questions:

1. Did various regions share equally in the growth of national wealth following the Civil War?



2. If not, why?

New States

New States in the Union 

1860s

 

Kansas

(1861)

 

West Virginia

(1863)

 

Nevada

(1864)

 

Nebraska

(1867)

1870s

 

Colorado

(1876)

1880s

 

Montana

(1889)

 

North Dakota

(1889)

 

South Dakota

(1889)

 

Washington

(1889)

1890s

 

Idaho

(1890)

 

Wyoming

(1890)

 

Utah

(1896)

Since 1900 

 

Oklahoma

(1907)

 

Arizona

(1912)

 

New Mexico

(1912)

 

Alaska

(1959)

 

Hawaii

(1959)



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