Make America a Nation of Yeomen Again
America wasn’t so much built by slaves, corporations, or bureaucrats as much as it was built by yeomen.
In the 1800s, 90% of the population lived on farms whereas today it’s about 1%.
I know of no pursuit in which more zeal & important service can be rendered to any country than by improving its agriculture. — George Washington
Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous, and they are tied to their country and wedded to its liberty and interests by the most lasting bonds. As long, therefore, as they can find employment in this line, I would not convert them into mariners, artisans, or anything else. — Thomas Jefferson
Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness. — Thomas Jefferson
The GOP was primarily built for yeomen.
Yes, it was created to stop the extension of slavery, but people vote more out of self-interest than compassion so I’d argue the primary motivation for stopping it was to give western land to free men.
After all, one of the first major pieces of legislation the new Republican Party passed in Congress was the Homestead Act, which would give “a free farm to any man who wanted to put a plow into unbroken sod,” but President James Buchanan [D] vetoed it because it would dilute Democrats’ power and wealth.
It’d dilute their power by increasing the number of Republican-voting yeomen and it’d dilute their wealth because they had so much of it stored in land. Democrats wanted the federal government to slowly sell its land so the increased revenue could be used to reduce tariffs.
The offer of free farms would probably have a powerful effect in encouraging emigration, especially from States like Illinois, Tennessee, and Kentucky, to the west of the Mississippi, and could not fail to reduce the price of property within their limits. An individual in States thus situated would not pay its fair value for land when by crossing the Mississippi he could go upon the public lands and obtain a farm almost without money and without price. —…