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The Farmers' Grievances Essay

526 words - 2 pages

The Farmers' GrievancesIt is historian John D. Hicks' thesis that the Southern and Western farmers suffered greatly in the new industrial system and blamed their suffering on the railroads, the trusts and low prices, the money-lenders and the bankers, and the money and banking system.Western farmers blamed many of their troubles upon the railroads, which sent all western crops to the markets. The farmers had no choice but to use these roads. The railroads naturally exacted high rates. The local freight rates were particularly higher than the long distance rates. Railroads, fortified by monopoly and supported by politics, were accused of controlling freight and fares at their own pleasure to the oppression of the farmer according to the principle, "take as much out of the pockets of the farmers as we can without taking it all". It was believed that the practice of stock-watering had much to do with the high rates. The capitalization of railways was 3 to 4 times higher than the normal rate. The farmers also believed that the railroads were stealing their priceless heritage of free lands.Farmers saw that low prices led to their lack of prosperity and that trusts joined with railroads and politicians to pick people's pockets. Prices dropped in certain sections of the country and later proved that farming was carried at an actual loss because it was over the cost of production. A western farmer had to sell his corn for eight to ten cents a bushel when the eastern broker demanded more than a dollar for it. Trusts dominated the market by buying raw material at...

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