Dust Bowl Droughts

Good Essays
With no natural vegetation to hold the earth together, the earth itself flew away, along with the livelihoods of thousands of farmers. In the 1930s, what would become to be known as the Dust Bowl blew across the Southern Plains region of the United States. As people moved to this region seeking land grants from the federal government, so did the droughts. However, these droughts themselves were not entirely responsible for the Dust Bowl’s namesake. Instead, it was the monumental dust storms that terrorized the inhabitants of the Southern Plains. As a result from the drought and dust storms, farming was all but impossible, leaving many families to rely on the federal government and relief organizations just to stay alive. Also occurring…show more content…
A total of “270 millions acres, or 10% of the area of the United States was claimed and settled under this act.” (About the Homestead Act) Due to this act, anyone, including newly arrived immigrants, could gain 160 acres of land for a total filing fee of $18. However, some believed that the “… Homestead Act of 1862, limiting an individual holding to 160 acres, on the western plains almost an obligatory act of poverty.” (Egan 268) As a result, the act was followed up with the Enlarged Homestead Act of 1909 and later the Stock Raising Homestead Act of 1916. These acts expanded the amount of land one would receive, and “Once again the plains became a feverish scene, as thousands rushed to get their share of the last agricultural frontier.” (Worster 87) Although these acts were instrumental in populating the west and ultimately the country, they led to a tremendous influx of new and inexperienced…show more content…
With dry-farming “… the land could be kept from reverting to useless grass …” (Worster 87) This new dry-farming method required “… deep plowing in the fall, packing the subsoil, frequently stirring up a dust mulch, and summer fallowing—leaving part of the ground unplanted each year to restore moisture.” (Ibid.) As a result of this push for dry-farming, Congress passed the aforementioned Enlarged Homestead Act. Arguably, this new method of farming was only possible due to industrialization. Specifically, automobiles, trucks, and tractors. In other words, the new machines of the industrial age allowed “The grassland … to be torn up to make a vast wheat factory: a landscape tailored to the industrial age.” (Ibid.) Unfortunately, the plains were not suited to this new style of dry-farming, and it ultimately “… led to the systematic destruction of the prairie grasses.” (Dust Bowl During the Great
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