Midwest of the USA - Sample Essay
It proves that the organizational process for agrarian women in the 19th century on the territories of the USA and Canada was cyclic, oriented for domestic and immediate usage and self-sustained. Dublin mentions that women’s labor was conducted under the laws of paternalism with no immediate cash payment. The farm women ran the whole chain of production operations by themselves. The products being produced by females were immediately consummated. The most common consummation or sales markets, in regard to women as producers and managers, were farm households, neighborhood households, or nearby country stores (Dublin, 1979, p. 4).
Dublin stresses that women received no cash payment for their labors (1979, p. 4) and reported to their male relatives in production and spending chores. However, Manton argues with the assumption about women earning no cash in the 19th century in regard to American agricultural sector. She states that, “both women and men were ‘breadwinners’ in the American family farm economy” (1999, p. 37). The major economic sector being characterized by women dominance was natural food supply.
According to Faragher (1991), mid-nineteenth century midwestern American women produced from one-third to one-half of all farm food (in Manton, 1999, p. 37). Due to the absence of retail trade, women had to manage and develop the trading infrastructure through the mechanism of bargaining of surplus farm products (Manton, 1999, p. 36). Besides, the researcher emphasizes the importance of butter making which has been traditionally performed by women and used to be the task “providing income for women, food for the family, and a cushion against hard times” (Manton, 1999, p. 37).
She also stresses that farm women were in charge for raising and caring for domestic animals either for home or for the market consumption. So far as the ideology or management principles are concerned in regard to the early 19th century women under farm economy, it is brilliantly embodied in the saying, “a man may work from sun to sun, but a woman’s work is never done. ” Manton views these words as the direct proof of women’s inferior position where “joys of women’s work were bittersweet” (1999, p. 38).
Dublin stresses that, “[though] women made substantial contributions to both agricultural production and domestic manufacture; still, […] legal framework reinforced the economic subordination of colonial women; without means for self-support, women’s place was clearly in the home” (Dublin, 1979, p. 1). To summarize, in the early 19th century farm women were involved into the production process in no less degree than men. Women’s duties were restricted mainly to the domestic chores and child care.
However, they helped men in the fields. The diverse array of women’s assignments was more characterized by natural goods flow than by cash transmittance. Their production cycle was restricted to domestic inner sales markets. Women were regarded as inferior to men in regard to production labors. Farm wives and daughters of the rural America and Canada received neither gratitude nor admiration. The situation began to change in the 1820s with the start of the industrial revolution.
The key feature of revolutionary process was the implementation of new technologies and economic principles. To begin with, after 1813, the first fully integrated textile enterprises in New England started to suppress household textile production. One of the major constituents of farm economy – yarn and cloth manufacturing – began to vanish as an economic factor. Dublin states that more than sixty thousand farm daughters and wives of New England were employed in the cotton textile factories by 1860.
It is logical to assume that the rise of industrial economy influenced positively the development of transport and market infrastructure. Bargaining had to compete with cash payment; and women started participating in cash producing cycle more intensely. Despite the rapid industrialization and mechanization of national economy in some American states, there still existed the so-called Farming Belt in the Midwest of the USA (Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin, Kansas, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota).
By the 20th century, agricultural sector still played an important role in production cycle. Jellison stresses that farms were family-operated and produced mainly grain and livestock (1993, p. 5). As the researcher point out, significant specialization was observed mainly in Wisconsin and Minnesota, where the emphasis was laid on dairy products, and in Dakota, where farmers raised wheat.