Quite likely a majority of the people who migrated to Maine after the American Revolution and before the Civil War farmed. Once they were established, what was important to them? What were their preoccupations? Were they self-sufficient? Did it matter? If so, how? If not, why?
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During the period between the Revolution and the Civil War, farmers in Maine experienced initial difficulties that gradually lessened thanks to successes in regional markets.
Among their preoccupations were environmental and weather conditions (which in Maine often made a hard job harder), tensions that forced farmers to choose between local and external markets (part of a larger transition in the state from local to regional frameworks), and a need for diversification. They strategically varied their crops and looked into the production of other craft items that could be sold to supplement farm incomes.
The first years after statehood were difficult, and self-sufficiency was all that most farmers could achieve. But as more farms established themselves, the wilderness vanished, and markets improved, farmers began to produce crops for urban and regional markets. In the years before the Civil War, the spread of the railroad and the resulting competition with new regions pushed farmers in Maine to experiment with innovative new techniques and strategies.
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