THE FARMERS' FRONTIER: 1865-1900 by Gilbert C. Fite


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The word frontier usually conjures up a picture of fortune-hunters, traders, trappers, and prospectors; but in lasting economic and political terms, none of these types were in any way nearly so significant as the man who went West to build his home and plant his crops. The necessary adaptations of farmers to plains life may not seem as exciting as the cowboys' and the drama of agricultural inventiveness may not compare with panning for gold; yet the reasons why the United States has attained its present position of unparalleled affluence and world power are very much more the tale of how, in a single generation, the vast emptiness between the Pacific coast and the Missouri River was filled and tamed by farmers. This tale has seldom been told for its own sake before, and never with the comprehensive grasp of socio-economic consequences that Professor Fite has applied. In the course of tracing the meaningful patterns of settlement in the various regions, and of interpreting the effects of land-distribution and migration policies, he has had occasion to correct a great number of popular misconceptions. He has also told history vividly, with sympathy to implement the statistics.

Publisher: Holt, Rinehart, Winston