Agrarian Discontent

DBQ Agrarian discontent
During the period of 1880-1900 American farmers, such as Oliver Kelly, and even European immigrants played an integral role in the settlement and expansion of the American frontier as the Homestead Act of 1862 provided 160 acres of land for new settlers and encouraged expansion as seen through new Midwestern states such as Oklahoma.   The act, initially a government attempt to fill empty spaces between the coasts, led to the growing influx of sodbusters in the Midwest but, despite the existence of the act, the majority of new farmers still bought land from railroads, land companies or states.   In fact, roughly ten times as much public land was purchased by land grabbing companies, such as the North Pacific railroad, and resold to settlers at a profit.   This early issue of unfair land sales would be the first of many to challenge the new farmers as the silver issue, natural disasters and an unregulated market would all challenge the new farmers’ way of life and ability to survive.   As seen through Doc A, farmers would argue, through the Populist Party, that a lack of government aid in the form of a silver currency and market regulations would be the main reason for their financial stress.   Conversely, Doc E argues that the reason for the farmers’ predicament was their own one crop economy and production of surpluses.   Ultimately, both sides contained valid truth in their arguments.    
At the outset of settlement, corporations such as the North Pacific and other private promoters, looked to take advantage of the new settlers.   As settlement increased little to no federal regulation was placed on the new agricultural markets which at first, was wanted by the farmers themselves given their agrarian and individualistic nature.   However as seen in Doc D, this unregulated market would lead to terrible financial straits for the farmers as the Northeast, protected by tariffs, would charge 8-40% interest rates on the farmers’ mortgage.   Also, the...