Essay: Broken Heartland, discusses issues in rural society such as the farm crisis

Essay by shellyUniversity, Master's December 2002

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Broken Heartland gives an in depth picture of what rural society is like. Osha Gray Davidson goes on to vividly illustrate some of the countries farming problems and crisis. Davidson gives details the results of the farm crisis, the aging population, closed businesses, unemployment, and suicide to name a few.

Davidson establishes a relationship between the farm crisis and the evolution of America's Heartland as a rural ghetto. The author characterizes parts of Iowa as a rural ghetto due to its increase in poverty from the farm crisis.

The farm crisis brought about hard economic times for farmers during the eighties. Some of these hard times brought depression for many farmers, not to mention shame for struggling farmers. Farms are supposed to be thought of as basic element of the American Dream, especially to the Heartland. This dream, according to Davidson, is one that is fading.

"The homestead act of 1862, under which Jefferson's dream of an agrarian nation of small land owners was finally to have been made a reality, has been called the greatest democratic measure of all history."

(p.24) The provisions of act were supposed to help farmers and give them a clear title to their land after owning it for five years. The act had some problems with it because most of the good farming land had already been bought up, and on the contrary farmers could not support a family on only 160 acres of land.

Davidson uses much emotion to describe some of the events and hardships faced in the small town of Tipton Iowa. Grace Countryman a clerk of over 14 years in a variety store explains how Wal-mart shut down their store. Chapter 3 then goes on to discuss "The Wal-marting of rural America." When a big company like Wal-Mart moves into...