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HIST 226 (116)
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HIST 226

I. Rise of Farm renters & Falling Crop Prices after Civil War • Before 1865 most TX are subsistence farmers • After 1865 start to see more and more TX to raise crops that they can sell to outsiders, Northern industry, British company o More commercial • Many countries completing to produce Cotton (Egypt, India, Canada, Argentina) • Too much supply, prices decline o More supply than demand o 1865 31 cents per lb o 1875-84 11 cents per lb o 1898 5 cents per lb • Subsistence Farm Owner but by late 1890s you see a farmer renters II. Most Common Types of Farmers a. Small farm owners • Own 120-160 acres • Getting smaller and smaller in the 1890s • Own their own materials (livestock, supplies) • Most stable • Difficult to sustain • Had to take out loans b. Share tenant farmers • A renter  Renting small area of land 16-20 acres from farm owner  Paying for rent by taking the cotton crop that they have raised and taking a part (usually a 1/3) and using that to pay their rent • Could own his own work animals, tools, seeds • Could give a 1/4 of grain as payment • Could have bought some goods on credit  Land owner or store merchant would charge interest  By autumn not only giving 1/3 for rent, but may have to give 1/3 to pay off credit • Can't buy basic necessities sometimes c. Sharecroppers • Poorest • Usually paid rent with 1/2 of cotton crop • Doesn't own any supplies • Only have their labor • Would have to take out credit in order to buy basic necessities during spring or summer  Have to repay credit with interest having to pay almost 80% of all of their cotton crop  Sometimes they had to pay 100% • By autumn some make no profit Starts to create resentment and unrest American Ideal: should be a land of people owning their own small Farmers III. What pushed farmers to call for reforms? a. Crop Lien System and Buying on Credit • Crop Lien System: The crop-lien system was a way for farmers to get credit before the planting season by borrowing against the value for anticipated harvests. Local merchants provided food and supplies all year long on credit; when the cotton crop was harvested farmers turned it over to the merchant to pay back their loan.  "Lien" •Legal claim on your property  Seen as detrimental because it allowed big companies to have a claim on the little you had b. Banks • Small farm owners would have to put part of their land as a collateral • High interest • Causes small farm owners to drop/decline c. Railroads • Starts off as being helpful • By 1880s seen as economic aspersion • Increased rates on transporting goods d. Merchants (Store merchants and Furnishing merchants - middlemen who helped farmer sell crops to outside buyers) • Charging too high a price to conduct business with the farmers All of these are supposed to help the farmers are charging too high a price which is disrupting the agriculture way life Feel like they are being punished Protests, songs, cartoons, poems "The farmers the man lives on credit until fall…." IV. Farmers’ Reform Organizations in Texas, 1870s-1890s a. The Grange, 1873-84 = its
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