Toward a Recovery of Nineteenth Century Farming Handbooks Essay

1945 Words Jan 27th, 2016 8 Pages
Toward a Recovery of Nineteenth Century Farming Handbooks

While researching texts written about nineteenth century farming, I found a few authors who published books about the literature of nineteenth century farming, particularly agricultural journals, newspapers, pamphlets, and brochures. These authors often placed the farming literature they were studying into an historical context by discussing the important events in agriculture of the year in which the literature was published (see Demaree, for example). However, while these authors discuss journals, newspapers, pamphlets, and brochures, I could not find much discussion about another important source of farming knowledge: farming handbooks. My goal in this paper is to bring this
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These events impacted all aspects of nineteenth century American life, most significantly those involved in slavery and the Civil War, but a large part of American life was affected, a part that is quite often taken for granted: the life of the American farmer. Population and Technological Changes.

One of the biggest changes, as seen in nineteenth century America’s census reports, is the dramatic increase in population. The 1820 census reported that over 10 million people were living in America; of those 10 million, over 2 million were engaged in agriculture. Ten years prior to that, the 1810 census reported over 7 million people were living in the states; there was no category for people engaged in agriculture. In this ten-year time span, then, agriculture experienced significant improvements and changes that enhanced its importance in American life. One of these improvements was the developments of canals and steamboats, which allowed farmers to “sell what has previously been unsalable [sic]” and resulted in a “substantial increase in [a farmer’s] ability to earn income” (Danhof 5). This improvement allowed the relations between the rural and urban populations to strengthen, resulting in an increase in trade. The urban population (defined as having over 2,500 inhabitants) in the northern states increased rapidly after

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