An American Farmer

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What it was like to be an American Farmer During the 1800-1860s (Romantic Period)
“The planter, the farmer, the mechanic, and the laborer... form the great body of the people of the United States, they are the bone and sinew of the country men who love liberty and desire nothing but equal rights and equal laws” -Andrew Jackson ("Andrew Jackson Quote."). During the 1800-1860s there were many farmers who lived in the American Colonies trying to make a living for themselves and their families. During this time period there were many changes going on in the colonies and throughout North America it was at times hard to survive and make a living as a farmer. They had lots of work to do on the farms and there were many variables that played a part in their success. Throughout the 1800-1860s the life of a farmer was based on hard work and cooperation. People on the farm or plantation usually had big families to help around consisting of the father, the mother, children, and some farms owned slaves. Every person on the farm had a task to do in order for its success. Although not as important to farmers, a new period known as the romantic period was changing the beliefs of people all throughout the United States.
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Without slaves, many farms and plantations in the colonies would cease to exist. “A slave is a person who is owned or enslaved by another person. In colonial times, people from the west coast of Africa were captured and shipped to Virginia and other colonies to work as slaves. In Virginia these Africans lived and worked on plantations or small farms where tobacco was the cash crop” (“Colonial Life.”). Slaves were enslaved for life and were sold or traded as property, not as an individual. Slaves usually worked in the fields all day and some worked in the house of the owner of the farm or plantation. “Each worker could raise about three acres of tobacco, but it was expensive to buy or lease a slave. The farmer had to balance the cost of an extra worker against the profit he would gain from planting more acres of tobacco. Small planters usually had fewer than five slaves, including children” (“What Was the Role of Children on an 18th-century Virginia Farm?”). Because there were few slaves on many of the smaller farms it was hard for slaves to make families. Their master often split their families apart or sold them to other farmers nearby. Because some of these slaves had family on other farms or plantations close by their masters would let them see each other from time to time. “Most farmers did not
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