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2007 Apush Free Response Question

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2007 APUSH Free Response Question

During the time period 1865 -1900, industry flourished, technology advanced, and the American standard of living increased. However, while this period brought massive growth to the wealthy population, those working in the agricultural fields began to suffer more than ever before. As the United States was functioning under a laissez-faire style of government, the farmers had minimal voice and therefore not allowing them to gain affluence. Despite the positive impacts of technological advancements on rates of production of crops, agricultural progression was delayed due to immense government bias and the numerous financial suffering with which farmers were faced.

Technologically, the United States grew at a rapid pace, as many of these advancements/ innovations began to jumpstart industries and allowed the working class to do less work. Such as the use of the mechanical reaper, which saved plenty of time harvesting crops, the technology used was more efficient than horse pulled equipment (Doc. D), as motorized farming began to rise in popularity. Also the use of technology on farms produced greater yields of crops, increasing constantly as technology grew more advanced (Doc. A). As railroads started to expanded westward increasing the size of the national market, it began to make canals and cattle trails obsolete. Between the years 1870 & 1890 the amount of railroads multiplied, while most at that time were built using major land grants (Doc. B). Though railroads may have seemed to help farmers, as it would make it easier to sell their crops nationwide, railroads were actually doing damage to the American farmers. This is due largely because rich people who owned the railroads, and since they wanted more money, they charged outrages freight rates. In several cases many farmers could not afford, which is mainly why Illinois has laws limiting the rates for transport of cargo on railroads (Doc. C). This era would soon be known as the “Gilded Age”, as Mark Twain referred to it as.

The Government at this time played a more “hands off “ role, otherwise known as laissez-faire. At this time Republicans were in office and were in favor of big business, resulting in a lack of representation of farmers in the capitol. Supporters of the farmers usually came from the populist movement. One of members from the populist movement known as Mary Elizabeth Lease preached to her supports about how they were deceived by their government, introducing facts about price reduction of crops and overproduction (Doc. G). The government had to still deal with the American Indians, as many viewed the land reserved for them as a “waste”, Americans looked upon Americans Indians with contempt (Doc. I). One of the major topics was the decision between the gold and silver standard. The Populists wanted to potentially flood and inflate the economy with silver, as



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