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SS.912.A.3.1 Challenges to American Farmers

Research and Inquiry Skills

late nineteenth and early twentieth century

global military, political, and economic challenges

the united states and the defense of the international peace

What you need to know...

  • You will need to know the causes of the economic challenges faced by American
  • You will need to know the strategies used by farmers to address the economic challenges of the late 1800s.

Terms to know include, but are not limited to: agricultural surplus, business monopolies, Cross of Gold, Farmers Alliance, government regulation of food and drugs, Grange, Granger laws, Homestead Act (1862), industrialization, Interstate Commerce Act (1887), populism, urbanization.

Example 1

The common purpose of these legislative acts were to

Progressive Era

A. protect the nation’s natural resources

B. improve conditions for recent immigrants to the United

C. advance the growth of big business

D. promote the general welfare of the American public

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Example 2

Until the early 20th century, few restrictions on immigration to the United States existed primarily because

A.  industry needed an increasing supply of labor

B.  immigration totals had always been relatively low

C.  labor unions had always favored unrestricted immigration

D.  the Supreme Court had ruled that Congress could not restrict immigration

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Example 3

Teddy Roosevelt

The cartoon illustrates President Theodore Roosevelt’s attempt to

A.    ignore antitrust laws

B.    conserve natural resources

C.    limit the power of monopolies

D.    eliminate foreign ownership of United States corporations

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Example 4

In the late 1800s, how did railroad monopolies create economic hardships for farmers?

A.      By claiming productive land for business leaders to develop

B.      By charging high prices to ship agricultural goods to market

C.      By separating farmers from profitable markets in western cities

D.      By isolating farmers from technological developments in eastern cities

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Example 5

In 1862, the Homestead Act and the Pacific Railway Act were passed primarily to
a.  achieve Northern victory in the Civil War
b.  develop the Midwest and western parts of the country
c,  improve the lives of freed slaves
d.  expand overseas markets to Asia and Europe

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Example 6

The political cartoon pictured below is titled "Modern Colossus of (Rail) Roads," and was drawn in 1879. It depicts Cornelius "the Commodore" Vanderbilt and the sign reads "all freight leaving the seaboard MUST pass here and pay any tolls we demand”. Use the cartoon and your knowledge of U.S. history to answer the question below.


The reins held by Vanderbilt attach not only to the trains but also to the tracks and the railroad station. What does this convey about his control of the Railroads?

a. Vanderbilt has total control of the entire railroad operation. Thus, he can do with it whatever he wants.

b. Vanderbilt, along with two assistants, has the majority of control in railroad shipping operations.

c. Vanderbilt controls the prices of railroad shipping, but has little involvement in the action operations.

d. Vanderbilt owns the majority of the railroads, but has little involvement of any kind.

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Example 7

Which technologies helped settlers establish farms on the Great Plains?

                A. repeating rifle, wooden sluices, electric light bulb

            B. sod houses, sheep shearers, wool carders

            C. telegraph, railroad, creation of Yellowstone National Park

            D. steel plow, windmill, barbed wire, reaper

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Example 8

The political cartoon below, drawn in 1904, depicts Theodore Roosevelt and lions each marked with the name of a business trust. Use your knowledge of U.S. history to answer the following question.

Roosevelt and the lions

What do you think is the cartoonists’ view on trust-busting in the early 20th century?

A. Businesses who involve themselves in trusts are weak and therefore pose no danger to the U.S. economy.

B. The government plays only a small role in eliminating trusts that have formed within the United States.

C. Roosevelt wants to only curb trusts’ power within the economy, rather than eliminate them altogether.

D. Roosevelt is admired for his powerful stance on destroying trusts within the United States.

Click for Answer

FLDOE Tutorial


In Your Text

Chapter 5

Pages 201 - 226

textbook cover