Class Notes

If you’ve ever wondered why railroad men were always bad guys in the old westerns, it’s because for a long-time, farmers saw them as the personification of all of their issues.  At the turn of century farming, like now, was difficult.  Even though technologies were being developed to make farming easier, paying for those technologies was hard.  Add to that the growing cost of feed, fertilizers, and whatever else farmers needed.  Plus, with growing international competition, prices were dropping.  Overproduction was one of the farmer’s biggest issues, but it is impossible to get mad at overproduction, so they took it out on railroads.  Most towns only had one storage facility which was owned by the one railroad.  Having a monopoly on storage and shipping allowed the railroad to create any price they wanted.  Farmers felt they were being taken advantage of, but had no choice but to pay the rates.  You can see why farmers were some of the first to start looking to the government for help.

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