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The Technological Advances During the Late 19th Century

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The period of time from 1880-1900, was a time of great change during the American nation. During this time within the nation there was mass urbanization that affected the country in the aspects of technology, government policy, and economic conditions. As great strides in science and technology warranted a push towards more urban lifestyle, the agricultural lifestyle of the past was slowly falling by the wayside.

The technological advances during the late 19th century are very numerous, and continue to have an influence on America during current times. During this time innovations such as the telephone and Morse code were invented to facilitate daily living and communication during that time. However, one of the most prominent technological advances during this time was the railroad. The railroad tracks allowed people to effectively transport both themselves, and cargo to the far corners of the nation without wasting days or even months in transit. From the 1870's to the 1890's, the railroads only pass through the Midwest. However, during the 1890's there were existing railroad tracks that connected all the way from Los Angeles to Seattle north to south, and all the way from San Francisco to Chicago. Despite the singular railways existing in Kansas City and St Louis, all of the railways in the nation were connected to each other which offered efficient transportation to a majority of the nation's land. This technological advancement of the railroad is seen in the beef industry because of its efficiency in transporting freight. Chicago had an annual slaughtering capacity of about 400,000 heads of cattle, however a total of 2,500,000 heads of cattle were marketed in the city of Chicago alone. All of this beef which clearly exceed the limit of the Chicago slaughterhouses can be attributed to the railways. These cattle were being brought from the West by the railway system, thus making it easier for more cattle to be transported and sold in Chicago. The advances of technology during this time period affected agriculture greatly, because this new ability to sell much more cattle and other livestock more quickly through the utilization of the railroad system put lowly farmers at a risk of overproduction.

The agricultural economic situation during the late 19th century was quite disappointing for the average farmer. During this time the use of railways to transport much more food than was needed led to over production within the agricultural society. This caused the prices on farmers' crops and livestock to plummet. Wheat, Cotton and Corn all show that from 1865 to 1900 the price per bushel or per pound decreased to almost half of what it had been, while bales and the bushels produced at least doubled in number(Document A.) This greatly affected the lowly farmers, because this situation promoted sharecropping throughout the nation. Sharecropping appeared to be beneficial to these farmers at first, but eventually it was made clear that the whole process of sharecropping only exploited farmers of their crops, and left them with not nearly enough money to buy the goods that they needed to support their own families. For example on sharecropper in North Carolina set up a system with his farmers where Sharecropping appeared to be beneficial to these farmers at first, but eventually it was made clear that the whole process of sharecropping only exploited farmers



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