The Farmers’ Frontier, 1865-1900
By Gilbert C. Fite
The magnetic attraction of free or inexpensive land peopled the Trans-Mississippi West within a single generation after the Civil War. Today, when America 5 farm population is less than three percent of the total and dwindling, it is hard to believe that the farmers’ settlement of the West was the greatest movement of peoples that the world had known.
Where did the farmers locate, how did they get land, what did they raise, and how did they fare on the frontier? Gilbert Fite answers these questions in this classic economic history of the so-called dirt farmers, including human-interest material to bridge the gulf between the farmers’ hopes and blind faith and the realities of settlement.
“The Farmers’ Frontier is a skillful and valuable synthesis composed by a scholar generally recognized as the country’s foremost historian of American agriculture.”-Tom Isern, Emporia State University, Kansas. “It is the careful quantification of things which gives the book its real merit. . . . an authenticity which is superb.”-Journal of American History. “An orderly and lucid summary of the settlement process.”-Journal of Economic History. “Mr. Fite has a knack of making history come alive. Through the use of personal incidents, he shows much of the joy, sadness, and hardship of frontier farm life” – Minnesota History.
Gilbert C. Fite is retired as Richard B. Russell Professor of American History at the University of Georgia. Ray Allen Billington, who wrote the foreword, was a renowned professor and writer of western American history.