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In Print: Agriculture in the Midwest

Dr. R. Douglas Hurt, professor of history, and his new book, "Agriculture in the Midwest, 1815-1900."
Dr. R. Douglas Hurt, professor of history, and his new book, "Agriculture in the Midwest, 1815-1900."

Publication Title

Agriculture in the Midwest, 1815-1900


R. Douglas Hurt


University of Nebraska Press

Publication Date

July 2023

About the Book (from the publisher)

After the War of 1812 and the removal of the region’s Indigenous peoples, the American Midwest became a paradoxical land for settlers. Even as many settlers found that the region provided the bountiful life of their dreams, others found disappointment, even failure—and still others suffered social and racial prejudice.

In this broad and authoritative survey of midwestern agriculture from the War of 1812 to the turn of the twentieth century, R. Douglas Hurt contends that this region proved to be the country’s garden spot and the nation’s heart of agricultural production. During these eighty-five years the region transformed from a sparsely settled area to the home of large industrial and commercial cities, including Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Detroit. Still, it remained primarily an agricultural region that promised a better life for many of the people who acquired land, raised crops and livestock, provided for their families, adopted new technologies, and sought political reform to benefit their economic interests. Focusing on the history of midwestern agriculture during wartime, utopian isolation, and colonization as well as political unrest, Hurt contextualizes myriad facets of the region’s past to show how agricultural life developed for midwestern farmers—and to reflect on what that meant for the region and nation.

About the Author

Professor Hurt received his Ph.D. from Kansas State University. He came to Purdue in 2003 as Department Head for the Department of History. Prior service included Director of the Graduate Program in Agricultural History and Rural Studies at Iowa State University for fourteen years and Associate Director for the State Historical Society of Missouri. He has served as editor for Agricultural History from 1994-2003 and editor for Ohio History from 2006-2009.

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In Print

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