How did the steel plow affect life in the U.S?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The steel plow was an important invention for farmers in the United States. It had several effects on our country. As people moved west of the Mississippi River, more land was being farmed. However, this land was different from land east of the Mississippi River. The soil on the Great Plains was much harder to farm. Conventional wooden plows wouldn’t work on this soil. The wooden plows would break because the soil was very tough to cultivate. The steel plow was strong enough to break the soil apart to allow for farming to occur.

There were other impacts as a result of the use of the steel plow. As a result of the steel plow, more people moved to the Great Plains to farm. The government was offering 160 acres of land in this area for free if people would live on it for five years. This was part of the Homestead Act of 1862. More people went to the West to farm because the technology made it possible to farm in this region. Along with the arrival of miners and cattle ranchers, the West grew after the Civil War. 

As more people moved to the Great Plains to farm, new farming techniques were developed. For example, the seed drill helped farmers plant the seeds deeper in the soil. More farm products were being produced. Eventually, farmers experienced economic problems because they produced too many crops causing crop prices to fall.

The steel plow impacted the United States and its growth in several ways.

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