through the passes. Seen from the east coast, America seemed to be a land of promise. Its wilderness could be turned into cultivated fields. Forest timber could be cut for export, animals hunted for skin, mountains mined for gold and minerals.
(ii) In the decades after 1800 the US government committed itself to a policy of driving the American Indians westward, first beyond the river Mississippi, and then further west. Numerous wars were waged in which Indians were massacred and many of their villages burnt. The Indians resisted, won many victories in wars, but were ultimately forced to sign treaties, give up their land and move westward. As the Indians retreated, the settlers poured in. They came in successive waves. They settled on the Appalachian plateau by the first decade of the eighteenth century, and then moved into the Mississippi valley between 1820 and 1850. They slashed and burnt forests, pulled out the stumps, cleared the land for cultivation, and built log cabins in the forest clearings. Then they cleared larger areas, and erected fences around the fields. They ploughed the land and sowed corn and wheat. In the early years, the fertile soil produced good crops. When the soil became impoverished and exhausted in one place, the migrants would move further west, to explore new lands and raise a new crop. It was, however, only after the 1860s that settlers swept into the Great Plains across the River Mississippi.
(i) From the late nineteenth century, there was a dramatic expansion of wheat production in the USA. The urban population in the USA was growing and the export market was becoming ever bigger. As the demand increased, wheat prices rose, encouraging farmers to produce wheat. The spread of the railways made it easy to transport the grain from the wheat-growing regions to the eastern coast for export. By the early twentieth century the demand became even higher, and during the First World War the world market boomed.
(ii) In 1910, about 45 million acres of land in the USA was under wheat. Nine years later, the area hade xpanded to 74 million acres, an increase of about 65 per cent. Most of the increase was in the Great Plains where new areas were being ploughed to extend cultivation. In many cases, big farmers – the wheat barons – controlled as much as 2,000 to 3,000 acres of land individually.
(i) This dramatic expansion was made possible by new technology. Through the nineteenth century, as the settlers moved into new habitats and new lands, they modified their implements to meet their requirements.
(ii) The prairie was covered with a thick mat of grass with tough roots. To break the sod and turn the soil over, a variety of new ploughs were devised locally, By the early twentieth century, farmers in the Great Plains were breaking the ground with tractors and disk ploughs, clearing vast stretches for wheat cultivation.
In 1831, Cyrus McCormick invented the first mechanical reaper which could cut in one day as much as five men could cut with cradles and 16 men with sickles. By the early twentieth century, most farmers
were using combined harvesters to cut grain. With one of these machines, 500 acres of wheat could be harvested in two weeks.
(iii) For the big farmers of the Great Plains these machines had many attractions. The prices of wheat were high and the demand seemed limitless.
(iv) With power-driven machinery, four men could plough, seed and harvest 2,000 to 4,000 acres of wheat in a season.
→ WHAT HAPPENED TO THE POOR ?
For the poorer farmers, machines brought misery. Many of them bought these machines, imagining that wheat prices would remain high and profits would flow in. If they had no money, the banks offered loans. Those who borrowed found it difficult to pay back their debts. Many of them deserted their farms and looked for jobs elsewhere.
Mechanisation reduced the need for labour. After 1920s. most farmers faced trouble. Production had expanded so rapidly during the war and post-war years that that there was a large surplus. Unsold stocks piled up, storehouses overflowed with grain, and vast amounts of corn and wheat were turned into animal feed. Wheat prices fell and export markets collapsed. This created the grounds for the Great Agrarian Depression of the 1930s that ruined wheat farmers everywhere.
→ DUST BOWL
In the 1930s, terrifying dust storms began to blow over the southern plains. Black blizzards rolled in, very often 7,000 to 8,000 feet high, rising like monstrous waves of muddy water. As the skies darkened, and the dust swept in, people were blinded and choked. Cattle were suffocated to death, their lungs caked with dust and mud. Sand buried fences, covered fields, and coated the surfaces of rivers till the fish died. Dead bodies of birds and animals were strewn all over the landscape. Tractors and machines that had ploughed the earth and harvested the wheat in the 1920s were now clogged with dust, damaged beyond repair. they came because the early 1930s were years of persistent drought.. Ordinary dust storms became black blizzards only because the entire landscape had been ploughed over, stripped of all grass that held it together. When wheat cultivation had expanded dramatically in the early nineteenth century, zealous farmers had recklessly uprooted all vegetation, and tractors had turned the soil over, and broken the sod into dust. The whole region had become a dust bowl.
→THE INDIA FARMER AND OPIUM PRODUCTION
Over the period of colonial rule, the rural landscape was radically transformed. As cultivation expanded, the area under forests and pastures declined. In the colonial period, rural India also came to produce a range of crops for the world market. In the early nineteenth century, indigo and opium were two of the major commercial crops. By the end of the century, peasants were producing
sugarcane, cotton, jute, wheat and several other crops for export, to feed the population of urban.
Europe and to supply the mills of Lancashire and Manchester in England.
→A TASTE FOR TEA : THE TRADE WITH CHINA
(i) In the late eighteenth century, the English East India Company was buying tea and silk from China for sale in England. As tea became a popular English drink, the tea trade became more and more important. In 1785, about 15 million pounds of tea was being imported into England. By 1830, the figure had jumped to over 30 million pounds. In fact, the profits of the East India Company came to depend on the tea trade.
(ii) England at this time produced nothing that could be easily sold in China. The Confucian rulers of China, In such a situation, how could Western merchants finance the tea trade? They could buy tea only by paying in silver coins or bullion. This meant an outflow of treasure from England, a prospect that created widespread anxiety. Merchants therefore looked for ways to stop this loss of silver. They searched for a commodity they could sell in China, something they could persuade the Chinese to buy. Opium was such a commodity.
(iii) The Chinese were aware of the dangers of opium addiction, and the Emperor had forbidden its production and sale except for medicinal purposes. But Western merchants in the mid-eighteenth century began an illegal trade in opium.
(iv)While the English cultivated a taste for Chinese tea, the Chinese became addicted to opium, People of all classes took to the drug-shopkeepers and peddlers, officials and army men, aristocrats and paupers.
As China became a country of opium addicts, British trade in tea flourished. The returns from opium sale financed the tea purchases in China.
♦ THE OPIUM CAME FROM
When the British conquered Bengal, they made a determined effort to produce opium in the lands under their control. Before 1767, no more than 500 chests were being exported from India. A hundred years later in 1870, the government was exporting about 50,000 chests annually.
→ FARMEZRS WERE UNWILLING TO TURN THEIR FIELDS OVER TO POPPY
First, the crop had to be grown on the best land, on fields that lay near villages and were well manured.
Second, many cultivators owned no land. To cultivate, they had to pay rent and lease land from landlords. And the rent charged on good lands near villages was very high.
Third, the cultivation of opium was a difficult process. Finally, the price the government paid to the cultivators for the opium they produced was very low.
→UNWILLING CULTIVATORS WERE MADE TO PRODUCE OPIUM
(i) In the rural areas of Bengal and Bihar, there were large numbers of poor peasants. From the 1780s, such peasants found their village headmen (mahato) giving them money advances to produce opium.
(ii) By taking the loan, the cultivator was forced to grow opium on a specified area of land and hand over the produce to the agents once the crop had been harvested.
(iii) The problem could have been partly solved by increasing the price of opium. The prices given to the peasants were so low that by the early eighteenth century angry peasants began agitating for higher prices and refused to take advances.
1. Shifting Agriculture : Under this farmers cultivate a land for some time and after the land become infertile they shift to new land.
2. Captain Swing : A mystic name used by poor labourers of England to threaten those who were introducing machines in agriculture.
3. Shilling : An English currency.
4. Great Agrarian Depression : It was a depression which occurred in USA in the 1930’s. It occurred because of surplus production in agriculture and ruined farmers everywhere.
5. Swing movement : It was a movement which was launched by the poor workers of England against the introduction of threshing machines by the rich landlords.
6. Dust Bowl Tragedy : It was a tragedy which occurred in 1930’s. The extensive use of prairies was responsible for the tragedy. Under this black blizzards become common in the Prairies.
7. Bushel : A measure of capacity.8. Sod : Pieces of earth with grass.
9. Mound : A measure of weight.
10. Opium Trade : The smuggling of opium into China on a large scale in order to its trade more profitable.
A. VERY SHORT ANSWER TYPE QUESTIONS
Q.1 What is strip cultivation ?
Q.2 How did food production increase in the 19th century ?
Q.3 Why did rich farmers use the threshing machines ?
Q.4 What were the occupations of the Native Americans ?
Q.5 Why and how were the Native Americans driven westwards ?
Q.6 What problems did expansion of wheat agriculture in the Great Plains cause ?
Q.7 Why were threshing machines opposed by the poor in England ?
Q.8 Who was Captain Swing ? What did the name symbolise or represent ?
Q.9 What items did the British merchants buy from China ? Why did they start smuggling opium into China ?
Q.10 What was enclosure system ?
Q.11 Mention any four factors which encouraged the enclosure system.
Q.12 Mention the factor responsible for Dust Bowl Tragedy ?
Q.13 Which European country introduced opium into China ?
Q.14 What were the difference in the enclosures of the 16th century from the 18th century in England ?
Q.15 What was the impact of opium trade on China ?
B. SHORT ANSWER TYPE QUESTIONS
Q.1 Why were the Indian farmers reluctant to grow opium ?
Q.2 What simple innovations helped to increase agricultural production in England ?
Q.3 What changes occurred due to coming of modern agriculture in England ?
Q.4 How were the Indian peasants made to produce opium ?
Q.5 What was the impact of enclosures on the poor farmers ?
Q.6 What was the impact of agriculture revolution or enclosures on England ?
Q.7 What was the importance of turnip and cloves for the England farmers ?
Q.8 Explain the Dust Bowl Tragedy.
Q.9 What were the causes of westward migrations in 19th century why was it resented by peasants ?
Q.10 What were the draw backs of old system of cultivation in England ?
C. LONG ANSWER TYPE QUESTIONS
Q.1 Explain the major factors responsible for a conflict between the British government, peasants and local traders.
Q.2 How were unwilling cultivators made to produce opium in field ?
Q.3 Explain the major features of ‘open field’ system which was prevailing in England in the 18th and early 19th century.
Q.4 How were poor affected by the enclosure movement ?
Q.5 What factors led to a dramatic expansion in America wheat production ?
D. MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTIONS
Q.1 What is shillings ?
(B) Edible items
(C) Electronic thing
Q.2 Who invented the first mechanical reaper ?
(A) Thomas Jefferson
(C) Cyrus Mccormick
Q.3 Who gave the slogan “Plant more wheat, wheat will win the war” ?
(A) Georg Bush
Q.4 Which European country introduced opium into China ?
Q.5 When was opium introduced in China ?
(A) 16th century
(B) 17th century
(C) 18th century
(D) 19th century
Q.6 A type of agriculture which is linked to market ?
(A) Shifting agriculture
(B) Commercial agriculture
(C) Subsistence farming
(D) None of these
Q.7 Who invented threshing machine ?
(A) Jethro Tull
(B) Jospeh Folyambe’s
(C) Andrew Meikle
(D) None of these
Q.8 Seed drill was invented by -
(A) Jethro Tull
(D) All of them
Q.9 What is sod ?
(A) A measure of capacity
(B) English currency
(C) Piece of earth with grass
(D) Measure of weight
Q.10 What is Maund ?
(A) Measure of weight
(B) Piece of earth with grass
(C) English currency
(D) Measure of capacity