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Founding Farmers: Jefferson, Washington, and the Rhetoric of Agricultural Reform

Founding Farmers: Jefferson, Washington, and the Rhetoric of Agricultural Reform mark sturges St. Lawrence University Founding Farmers Jefferson, Washington, and the Rhetoric of Agricultural Reform From the 1780s to the 1820s, American political leaders often responded to problems of soil exhaustion and western emigration by promoting a dual program of agricultural reform and domestic manufacturing. They believed that a better system of land management and a more self-sufficient domestic economy could ensure social and political stability while still allowing for national progress and prosperity. Combining economic and ethical modes of improvement, they urged American farmers to stay put, to adopt more efficient practices of soil conservation, crop rotation, and livestock production, and to develop a more permanent sense of place. While establishing a number of agricultural societies and engaging in their own personal experiments, these leaders also harnessed the written word, cultivating a vision of enlightened agriculture in a variety of literary genres, from natural history to georgic poetry, travel narratives to agricultural addresses, private letters to public reports. Such writings demonstrate an incipient ecological awareness and express a growing anxiety about the political and environmental durability of the United States. If Americans elevated personal profit above the common good, these leaders feared, then the fragile ecosystem of http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Early American Literature University of North Carolina Press

Founding Farmers: Jefferson, Washington, and the Rhetoric of Agricultural Reform

Early American Literature , Volume 50 (3) – Nov 18, 2015

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 The University of North Carolina Press.
ISSN
1534-147X
Publisher site
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Abstract

mark sturges St. Lawrence University Founding Farmers Jefferson, Washington, and the Rhetoric of Agricultural Reform From the 1780s to the 1820s, American political leaders often responded to problems of soil exhaustion and western emigration by promoting a dual program of agricultural reform and domestic manufacturing. They believed that a better system of land management and a more self-sufficient domestic economy could ensure social and political stability while still allowing for national progress and prosperity. Combining economic and ethical modes of improvement, they urged American farmers to stay put, to adopt more efficient practices of soil conservation, crop rotation, and livestock production, and to develop a more permanent sense of place. While establishing a number of agricultural societies and engaging in their own personal experiments, these leaders also harnessed the written word, cultivating a vision of enlightened agriculture in a variety of literary genres, from natural history to georgic poetry, travel narratives to agricultural addresses, private letters to public reports. Such writings demonstrate an incipient ecological awareness and express a growing anxiety about the political and environmental durability of the United States. If Americans elevated personal profit above the common good, these leaders feared, then the fragile ecosystem of

Journal

Early American LiteratureUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Nov 18, 2015

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