The Condition of Farmers Following the Civil War Essay

Submitted By fairytales17
Words: 473
Pages: 2

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