From Prairie to Corn Belt: Farming on the Illinois and Iowa Prairies in the Nineteenth Century

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9780813822181: From Prairie to Corn Belt: Farming on the Illinois and Iowa Prairies in the Nineteenth Century
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Between 1820 and the 1990s settlers broke the tallgrass prairies of mid-America and, by the 1870s, had begun to use the term "Corn Belt" in relation to much of the region. In From Prairie to Corn Belt Allan G. Bogue describes this remarkable transformation and challenges the view that the post- Civil War period constituted thirty years of unrelieved agricultural depression.

From Prairie to Corn Belt is still the only study of Midwestern agricultural development that focuses on the farmers themselves, the whole range of problems relating to production that they had to solve on their holdings, and the diversity of their responses.

Opening with a picture of the prairie environment of Illinois and Iowa during the early nineteenth century, Bogue describes the pioneer farmers, their reasons for coming and the impressions that the new land made on them. How farmers acquired land on the prairies, the prices that they paid, and the development of tenancy covered. Bogue also discusses in considerable detail how the pioneers improved their farms, livestock, and crops and how they used agricultural machinery and the process of innovation. He also notes the relative costs of credit, labor, and taxes.

A series of personal sketches of farmers based on diaries, journals, and letters will be of particular interest to historians and students of agriculture as well as to general readers with an interest Midwestern history.

This printing of From Prairie to Corn Belt includes a new preface by the author in which he describes the background of the book, its initial reception and its relation to the research in Midwestern rural history since its original publication in the mid-1960s.

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About the Author:

Allan G. Bogue became a professor emeritus in history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1991, after serving since 1968 at that institution as the Frederick Jackson Turner Professor of History. His other publications in agricultural history include Money at Interest: The Farm Mortgage on the Middle Border and many articles and book chapters. He is also the author of The Earnest Men: Republicans of the Civil War Senate, Clio and the Bitch Goddess: Quanitification in American Political History, and other books and articles in American history and historiography. He has been president of the Organization of American Historians, the Agricultural History Society, and the Economic History Association. Recently he was honored with a life membership in the Western History Association for his scholarly contributions to that field of history. He is currently writing a biography of Frederick Jackson Turner.

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Bogue, Allan G.
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