Some of the problems that many farmers in the late nineteenth century(1880-1900)saw as threats to their way of life(a)explain reasons for discontent(b)evaluate the validity of the farmers' complaints

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Documents A-H reveal some of the problems that many farmers in the late nineteenth century(1880-1900)saw as threats to their way of life.(a)explain the reasons for agrarian discontent and(b)evaluate the validity of the farmers' complaints.

In the late 1800s, many farmers were trapped in a vicious economic cycle. Crops

prices began falling and farmers were often forced into mortgaging their farms so they

could buy more land and produce more crops to break even. Good farming land was

becoming scarce and the banks took over the mortgages of farmers who couldn't make

payments on their loans; the railroads, on the other end, took advantage of farmers by

charging them excessive prices for shipping and storage--both equally frustrating the

troubled farmer, who in a way resembled a larger economic problem that was affecting

the entire nation.

Banks controlled the farmer by the neck, casting their shadow on the farmer's

every step and relentlessly taking over the mortgages of farmers who couldn't make

payments on their loans(doc d).

Generally speaking, the average farmer struggled during

the period in part to the enormous increase of agriculture worldwide. Due to various

technological improvements, which in effect boosted competition not only nationwide but

also worldwide, farmers came face to face with foreign competition, being forced to

adjust the prices of their products to stay competitive. An increase of production repaid

the farmer's losses only temporarily, however, as many soon came to discover the

limitations of available adequate farming land as well as the doom of their own over-

production with the increasing availability of products--rendering their value below

profitable(doc e).

The troubles of a farmer were part of a larger economic problem that was affecting

the entire nation. Deflation followed the Civil War, making the amount of money in

circulation decreased and the value of the dollar therefore increased. The result was unfavorable for the farmer, as products took up a lower value. Loans to be repaid with

dollars that were worth more than the ones they had borrowed, added great controversy as

farmers lost money. A solution in the eyes of many farmers became the push for "cheap

money" to reverse the effects of deflation. Farmers demanded the increase in supply of

greenbacks with the addition of unlimited coinage of silver(doc b). With the passage of

the Bland-Allison Act in 1878, around two to four million was added to the silver supply

each month, yet that only eased the pain and had not solved the core of the problem(docc)

To add more fuel to the fire, railroad companies added more load on the farmer's

back by taking advantage with astronomical prices to transport grain. A lack of

competition among the railroads accounted for high costs, sometimes making a shipment

of grain nearly unprofitable(doc h). Moreover, railroads gained control over grain storage

prices, enabling their influence over the market of price of crops. Justifying the transport

prices became all to common and unchallengeable due to the lack of competition(doc g).

Reform had been inevitable at this rate, farmers got caught in a cycle of credit that meant

longer hours and more debt with every year.

Good farming land quickly became scarce and the banks took over the mortgages

of farmers who couldn't keep up with payments on their loans; the railroads, tugging the

rope from the other end took advantage of farmers by charging them excessive prices for

shipping and storage--both equally and effectively frustrating the troubled farmer, who in

a way carried the load of a larger economic problem that was affecting the entire nation.

Due to various technological improvements, which in effect boosted competition not only

nationwide but also worldwide, farmers came face to face with foreign competition, being

forced to adjust the prices of their products to stay competitive--starting the cycle of a

never ending indebtedness. As a solution, farmers demanded the increase in supply of

greenbacks with the addition of unlimited coinage of silver, which was partly accepted

with the passage of the Bland-Allison Act in 1878, adding two to four million to the

silver supply each month. The issue of the farmer's debt stuck around, however, as

railroads took their bite accordingly, suffocating farmers with high transportation pricing.

Reform had been inevitable at this rate as farmers had no way of rising from the vicious

cycle.