Mixed harvest: the second great transformation in the rural by Hal S. Barron

By Hal S. Barron

Combined Harvest explores rural responses to the transformation of the northern usa from an agricultural society into an city and commercial one. in line with Hal S. Barron, nation humans from New England to North Dakota negotiated the increase of large-scale organizational society and customer tradition in methods marked via either resistance and lodging, switch and continuity.Between 1870 and 1930, groups within the rural North confronted a couple of demanding situations. Reformers and pros sought to centralize authority and curb neighborhood regulate over such vital points of rural society as faculties and roads; large-scale company organisations wielded expanding industry strength, to the detriment of self reliant relatives farmers; and an encroaching urban-based client tradition threatened rural ideals within the primacy in their neighborhood groups and the prevalence of state existence. yet, Barron argues, through reconfiguring conventional rural values of localism, independence, republicanism, and agrarian fundamentalism, state humans effectively created a different rural culture. as a result, agrarian society persevered to supply a counterpoint to the dominant developments in American society good into the 20th century.

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Extra info for Mixed harvest: the second great transformation in the rural North, 1870-1930

Sample text

In a system of corvée or statute labor that dated back to the Middle Ages, road construction and maintenance was carried out by every able-bodied male inhabitant in the township, who worked out a road tax based on property values as well as a poll tax. This system of road districts, pathmasters, and statute labor was the bane of later road reformers, but it was well attuned to the realities and sensibilities of nineteenth-century rural life. A farmer worked mainly on the roads that he used the most, and he could pay his road tax with his own labor or that of his sons and hired men, as well as through the use of his draught teams, wagons, and tools, which made it less of a burden than a cash levy.

It is imperative, too, that I acknowledge the very valuable assistance I have received from numerous research libraries and their staffs. The Newberry Library, with its treasure trove of obscure local histories and its Center for Family and Social History, was an ideal place to begin this project, and Richard Brown, John Jentz, and David Thackery made my stay there enjoyable as well as productive. The John Crerar Library and the Regenstein Library at the University of Chicago were also important resources, and I made fruitful research trips to the National Agricultural Library in Beltsville, Maryland, the Olin and Mann Libraries at Cornell University, the Wisconsin Historical Society, the Minnesota Historical Society, and the Regional History Center at Northern Illinois University.

16 Rural inhabitants were also worried about the increased costs inherent in proposed road reforms. 17 In general, northern rural townships during the 1870s were very sensitive about tax issues; many had just retired their Civil War debts and were reluctant to take on new financial obligations. To the poorer farmers and residents who often formed the majority of local voters, a cash road tax was an economic burden. More prosperous farmers were better able to afford cash taxes, and sometimes preferred to pay cash rather than take time away from their farms to work on the roads.

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