The Granger Movement Of The 1860s.

The Granger movement gave voice to the country's farmers in the federal government and reminded the general public of the importance of farming. Although not the original target of the Patron of Husbandry, known as Grange, the U.S. In the U.S. this organization of farmers quickly discovered that they could take advantage of their integrated power to push back against railroads and grain elevators. And it all started with one man.

Oliver Hudson Kelly

Minnesota native Oliver Hudson Kelly had a reputation as a "book farmer." He read many books on agriculture, applied what he learned to his agricultural experiments, and never hesitated to apply new techniques to improve his yields; According to legend, Kelly was the first person in the kingdom to have a mechanical reaper.

In 1864, he was offered a position with the Department of Agriculture, which led two years later to visit southern farms in the aftermath of the Civil War. What Kelly found disappointed him: there seemed to be no standardization of agricultural techniques across the region, which meant that not only was no one doing the same thing, but no one was doing it right. As a member of the Masons, Kelly knew that such a fraternal society could benefit those who shared information, so she founded the Patriarch of the Husbands in 1867.

Drawing with the signature of Oliver Hudson Kelly, founder of the Grange, 1875.

Guardian of Animal Husbandry

Initially, the Patriarch's Patron was established to help the country's farmers implement the most effective farming methods as well as meet the social and economic needs of farming families, but the financial crisis of 1873 led to Changed everything. The railroads on which farmers relied to send their crops to market began to charge more and more in the form of mills and grain lifts, often owned by railroads. At the same time, Congress passed new legislation that reduced paper currency, increasing the need for gold or silver coins. For the country's farmers, however, cash money was scarce.

As the farming community became increasingly restless, the idea of ​​uniting into a unified organization became more appealing. The Grange operated in only nine states at the beginning of the decade, but by the mid-1870s, there were Grange organizations in every state in the Union, which counted 800,000 farmers among their members. With so much power in numbers and the obvious reason for their growing unrest, the Grangers quickly shifted from a social and commercial organization to a political organization. He threw much of his clout behind political parties and candidates, who worked to pass laws to regulate the cost of transportation and storage of grain and other crops.

Once the Grangers reckoned with their actual power, they really went wild by building their own grain elevators, storage systems and stores, which they set up as cooperatives to bypass the locomotive monopoly . These efforts resulted in dubious success, but by cutting out the greedy middleman, the Grangers established an agrarian independence, which is still celebrated by farmers throughout the country today.

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