Everyday Life in the 19th Century Question Can you give me some historical background information on the s? I researched some online, and it's not getting to me.
Pre-Colonial era[ edit ] Prior to the arrival of Europeans in North America, the continent supported a diverse range of indigenous cultures.
While some populations were primarily hunter-gatherersother populations relied on agriculture. To fertilize this crop, they used small fish which they called herrings or shads. Cotton became a major plantation crop after in the " Black Belt ," that is the region from North Carolina in an arc through Texas where the climate allowed for cotton cultivation.
The "Black Belt" was originally named after the black soil; but came to refer to the high percentage of African-Americans working as slaves in the area.
Apart from the tobacco and rice plantations, the great majority of farms were subsistence, producing food for the family and some for trade and taxes. Throughout the colonial period, subsistence farming was pervasive.
Farmers supplemented their income with sales of surplus crops or animals in the local market, or by exports to the slave colonies in the West Indies.
Logging, hunting and fishing supplemented the family economy. German Americans brought with them practices and traditions that were quite different from those of the English and Scots. They adapted Farm life during the 19th century World techniques to a much more abundant land supply.
Furthermore, the Germans showed a long-term tendency to keep the farm in the family and to avoid having their children move to towns. The Scots Irish built their livelihoods on some farming but more herding of hogs and cattle. In the American colonies, the Scots-Irish focused on mixed farming.
Using this technique, they grew corn for human consumption and for livestock feed, especially for hogs. Many improvement-minded farmers of different backgrounds began using new agricultural practices to increase their output.
During the s, these agricultural innovators replaced the hand sickles and scythes used to harvest hay, wheat, and barley with the cradle scythe, a tool with wooden fingers that arranged the stalks of grain for easy collection.
This tool was able to triple the amount of work done by a farmer in one day. A few scientifically informed farmers mostly wealthy planters like George Washington began fertilizing their fields with dung and lime and rotating their crops to keep the soil fertile.
Beforemost colonists in the mid-Atlantic region worked in small-scale farming and paid for imported manufactures by supplying the West Indies with corn and flour. In New York, a fur-pelt export trade to Europe flourished and added additional wealth to the region.
Aftermid-Atlantic farming was stimulated by the international demand for wheat. A massive population explosion in Europe drove wheat prices up. Bya bushel of wheat cost twice as much as it did in Many poor German immigrants and Scots-Irish settlers began their careers as agricultural wage laborers.
Merchants and artisans hired teen-aged indentured servants, paying the transportation over from Europe, as workers for a domestic system for the manufacture of cloth and other goods. Merchants often bought wool and flax from farmers and employed newly arrived immigrants who had been textile workers in Ireland and Germany to work in their homes spinning the materials into yarn and cloth.
Large farmers and merchants became wealthy, while farmers with smaller farms and artisans only made enough for subsistence. Most farming was designed to produce food for the family, and service small local market. In times of rapid economic growth, a farmer could still improve the land for far more than he paid for it, and then move further west to repeat the process.
South[ edit ] In the South, the poor lands were held by poor white farmers, who generally owned no slaves. They grew their own food, and concentrated on a few crops that could be exported to meet the growing demand in Europe, especially cotton, tobacco, and sugar. The main export crop was cotton.
But after a few years, the fertility of the soil was depleted and the plantation was moved to the new land further west. Much land was cleared and put into growing cotton in the Mississippi valley and in Alabama, and new grain growing areas were brought into production in the Mid West. Eventually this put severe downward pressure on prices, particularly of cotton, first from —23 and again from — Growing and refining sugar required a large amount of capital.
New specialty export crops were introducued such as tobacco and cranberries. American frontier The first major movement west of the Appalachian mountains began in Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina as soon as the Revolutionary War was won in Pioneers housed themselves in a rough lean-to or at most a one-room log cabin.
The main food supply at first came from hunting deer, turkeys, and other abundant small game. Clad in typical frontier garb, leather breeches, moccasins, fur cap, and hunting shirt, and girded by a belt from which hung a hunting knife and a shot pouch — all homemade — the pioneer presented a unique appearance.
In a short time he opened in the woods a patch, or clearing, on which he grew corn, wheat, flax, tobacco and other products, even fruit.To find other documents in American Memory relating to this topic, search using such keywords as agriculture, farms or farmers, ranches or ranchers, small towns, rural life, rural folkways, and village.
If you become interested in some byway of 19th century life, for example, you can most likely find entire books on that subject, whatever it is, published at the time, via Google Books, Project Gutenberg, Open Library, or The Making of America (Michigan).
The online attic now is huge and contains far more than anyone could look at. Paris - Paris during and after the French Revolution ( to midth century): The French Revolution of destroyed those vestiges of the seigneurial systems that had remained in Paris and consolidated the status of Paris as the capital of a .
The solitary farm life led to the rise of huge mail order catalog companies, such as Montgomery Ward's and Sears and Roebuck, which offered free rural delivery by the end of the 19th century.
Debt and Competition.
The Plight of the Late Nineteenth Century American Farmer Essay - The Plight of the Late Nineteenth Century American Farmer From the early beginnings of America to well into the nineteenth century, America has been dominantly an agricultural country. Farming and the country life have always been a great part of the American culture.
The history of American agriculture () covers the period from the first English settlers to the modern day. Below are detailed timelines covering farm machinery and technology, transportation, life on the farm, farmers and the land, and crops and livestock.