"The Western Farmer's Home"
Currier and Ives made numerous prints of farms
in both the East and the West. Typical farm scenes include a
yard full of plump livestock and fowl. Lolling about are happy,
healthy children and adults. All are well dressed and attractive.
Prosperity is clearly in attendance (Cronin 319).
Nowhere is the impact of mechanical inventions,
scientific agriculture, or the railroad industry indicated.
Nor is the gradual depersonalization, capitalization, and commercialization
that resulted from these changes and forced farmers deep into
Forrest McDonald, writing in The Last Best
Hope: A History of the United States, noted that the farmer
of the late nineteenth century:
had to keep up with market changes over which he had
no control. When the price of his products fell, he could no
longer pull in his horns and wait for a better day. ... In short,
his life was nearly as nerve-wracking as the city dweller's
Little wonder, then, that prints of Currier and Ives wound
up on the walls of barns and sheds, where they provided a reminder
of the dream that drove settlers West.
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