Thursday, April 17, 2014

Axes and Plows Made This Country

From Farmer Boy, by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Washington


Here is another example of how much America has changed.  The hearts of some Americans are so far removed from what once made Americans free and prosperous and strong.

In this next passage, Almanzo Wilder was with his family during an Independence Day celebration in Malone, New York. He overheard his father say that it was "axes and plows that made this country." Later, Almanzo asked his father what he meant.

California

Independence Day, 1867
"Father, how was it axes and plows that made this country?  Didn't we fight England for it?"
"We fought for Independence, son," Father said.  "But all the land our forefathers had was a little strip of country, here between the mountains and the ocean.  All the way from here west was Indian country, and Spanish and French and English country.  It was farmers that took all that country and made it America."
"How?" Almanzo asked.
Montana

 "Well, son, the Spaniards were soldiers, and high-and-mighty gentlemen that only wanted gold.  And the French were fur-traders, wanting to make quick money.  And England was busy fighting wars.  But we were farmers, son; we wanted the land.  It was farmers that went over the mountains, and cleared the land, and settled it, and farmed it, and hung on to their farms.  
"This country goes three thousand miles west, now.  It goes 'way out beyond Kansas, and beyond the Great American Desert, over mountains bigger than these mountains, and down to the Pacific Ocean. It's the biggest country in the world, and it was farmers who took all that country and made it America, son.  Don't you ever forget that."

I know some people may not like to read that, but the truth is the truth.  Farmers risked everything to increase and maintain and retain the land.  It was not great riches that motivated them; it was a livelihood and liberty and independence.  And it still is to this day.

Nevada
Farmers (and ranchers) are amazing people.

UPDATE 4/19/14 from the The Salt Lake Tribune: States come together to discuss federal land takeover.  States want to take the land back and give it to the people.  Here is what one man says, which echoes what I stated in my post:

"Those of us who live in the rural areas know how to take care of lands," Fielder said, who lives in the northwestern Montana town of Thompson Falls.
"We have to start managing these lands. It’s the right thing to do for our people, for our environment, for our economy and for our freedoms," Fielder said.

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