Describe the rise and decline of the Western Plains farmer in the late-nineteenth century.

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The rise of the Plains farmer coincides with the end of the Civil War. Farmers moved West in order to take advantage of the Homestead Act of 1862, which granted free land to those willing to live on and improve their parcel. Many of these "sodbusters" came to the Plains and made their homes out of bricks of sod. While the area was labeled as a desert on many early maps of the West, new immigrants from Poland, Russia, and Ukraine thought that the Plains reminded them of home, and they started growing wheat. These immigrants were leaving both economic hardship and persecution back home; therefore, they had extra incentive to succeed on the Plains.

Small farmers were initially prosperous, but the railroads that served the area had a virtual monopoly on getting the goods to market. A series of droughts combined with falling prices due to a glut in the world market led many farmers to sell out. Large-scale agriculture would come to the region before the early 1900s. The large farmers could...

(The entire section contains 5 answers and 983 words.)

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