Dbq Essay On Farmers Essay Research Paper

Dbq Essay On Farmers Essay, Research Paper

The complaints of Native Americans, western farmers, and African Americans in the

later 19th century are the result of too little government action. When problems began to

arise in the West, only then did the American Government hastily find even more

disputable solutions. The government did not attempt to aid the Indians, farmers, or

African Americans before there situations became worse enough to definitely need

fixing. Also when the government made their decisions, they were only beneficial for

one side and not the other. All that the Indians, farmers, and African Americans wanted

were their own shares of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, the natural rights

entitled to all people.

When President Andrew Jackson applied the Indian Removal Act, he believed

that the lands west of the Mississippi would permanently remain Indian country. But

this was proven false as wagon trains rolled westward on the Oregon Trail. Also plans

for a transcontinental railroad were in progress. Because the national government took

little into consideration of the future of the Indian Removal Act, more problems arose.

The federal government began to assign the plains tribes large tracts of land, or

reservations. However, most already-settled Indians did not even consider migrating

again. Hundreds of tiny wars sprung up, especially with the Sioux, due to the

government s neglect to view all consequences of its actions.

…the troops were sent into our country, and the troops killed our people

and ill treated them, and thus war and trouble arose; but before the troops

were sent there we were quiet and peaceable, and there was no

disturbance… Chief Red Cloud Speech

Jackson should have never sent the Indians west because he did not regard the future

whereabouts of the Native American peoples. In reaction to the interruption of peace,

Congress tried to break up tribal organizations among the Indians in the Dawes Act of

1887. Congress hoped that with the divisions of tribes and the granting of new Indian

lands, the Indians would become civilized and more law-abiding citizens. Still the

government s plan was far from being impenetrable. Instead it failed miserably because

the former reservation land was bought up again by more Indians.

During the late 1800 s, farmers began to feel as if their ways of life were being

threatened. Farmers felt that a competition with railroads in monopolies and trusts,

currency circulation shortage, and the powerful forces of Mother Nature seemed to be

putting them in debt or even out of business. Over production, and bad weather

accounted for some these problems, which made the farmers complaint’s not completely

valid. Competition with monopolies and trusts was a major contributing factor to farmer


Nothing has done more to injure the [western] region than these freight

rates. The Forum

Railroads were putting most farmers in the brink of bankruptcy. Groups were formed to

help the farmers, like the National Grange Movement, which tried to get some relief from

monopolies but they were just too influential. It came to a halt when the Wabash v.

Illinois case made the Supreme Court. The court said that groups like the Grange had no

power to regulate interstate commerce. Farmers sent their products all over the country

in order to receive profit, but it was virtually impossible to ever make any money when

the charge for use of the railroad system, was more than the farmer could make. The

government tried to help out by establishing the Sherman-Anti Trust Act, and the

Interstate Commerce Act. The Sherman-Anti trust act was intended to help farmers

mobilize against monopolies such as the railroad system, but it was not very successful.

The Interstate Commerce Act was made to stabilize the economy and help the farmers

avoid the railroad warpath, but the act only foreshadowed doom in the government trying

to protect a private enterprise. The farmers were pretty much defenseless against the

monopoly system of the railroad, and were sent into a state of perpetual debt because of

ineffectual, government action. Finally, another major cause of discontent for the

farmers was the deflation of prices. The deflation of prices was extremely crucial,

because it put the farmers in a high state of debt. The farmers blamed the fact that there

was a shortage of money in circulation in the U.S. during that particular period of time.

When the Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890 was passed, farmers looked at it as an

opportunity to possibly get out of debt. It was believed that if there was a large amount

of money circulating it would make high prices, and eventually the farmers would be

able to pay off their debts. However silver coinage did not make farming more

profitable, or any less laborious, it just added to depletion of values. In the end farmers

had nothing to show for their hard work.

With the end of the reconstruction 1877, the North left the South alone to deal

with its own social and economical problems. White supremacists gained support in the

South. They favored policies of separating, or segregating public facilities for blacks and

whites as a means of treating African Americans as social inferiors. During Reconstruc-

tion, federal laws shielded southern blacks from local and state discriminatory acts.

However, in the late 1870 s, the U.S. Supreme Court began to deny one Reconstruction

act after the other. In the Civil Rights Cases of 1883, the Court ruled that Congress could

not legislate against the racial discrimination practiced by private citizens, which

included railroads, hotels, and other public businesses. Therefore these businesses were

free to treat blacks however they wanted to. Furthermore in 1896, the case of Plessy v.

Ferguson, the Supreme Court upheld a Louisiana law requiring separate but not equal

accommodations for white and black passengers on railroads. The Court ruled that the

law did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment which guaranteed equal protection of the


The object of the Fourteenth Amendment was undoubtedly to enforce the

absolute equality of the two races before the law, but, in the nature of

things, it could not have been intended to abolish distinctions based on

color, or to enforce social, as distinguished from political, equality, or a

commingling of the two races upon terms unsatisfactory to either…

U.S. Supreme Court

Soon after the decision, a series of laws known as the Jim Crow Laws were adopted by

southern states. These laws required segregated washrooms, drinking fountains, park

benches, and other facilities in virtually all public places. If the 14th amendment was

followed justly, the federal government could have aided the blacks in their fight for

social equality. As John Harshall Harlan says:

Our Constitution is color-blind and neither knows nor tolerates classes

among citizens.

But because this case occurred right after the civil war, the case must be looked at in the

context of its time. Right after the war no one in the South would look forward to try

helping African Americans because one day blacks are slaves and one day they are free

citizens. In the South, it would take time for white southerners to look upon blacks as

their equals.

Finally, the Native Americans, farmers, and African Americans received

ineffective, government action with the dealing of each of their problems. Even though

solutions were accepted in each group s cases, many more problems occurred due to the

disregard of future consequences. Every solution to a problem should be looked at from

all angles before it is put into effect so that more dilemmas cannot stem out from the



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