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Th econquest and opening of western lands in the second half of the 1800s led to massive immigration to America and migration across it. Europeans in search of land and using the Homestead Act to claim acreage, hundreds of thousands of people flocked to the new land, especially farming such crop staples as wheat and corn.
Using new harvesting technology, they were able to cultivate much larger areas than had been possible previously, and so the market after 1865 was consistently flooded with farm goods. The overabundance caused prices to crash so low that many farmers, instead of finding the economic independence and freedom they had always wanted, found themselves in an endless cycle of debt to banks and the railroads.
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