Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Capitalism Takes CommandThe Social Transformation of Nineteenth-Century America$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Michael Zakim and Gary J. Kornblith

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780226451091

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226977997.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 27 September 2021

The Mortgage Worked the Hardest

The Mortgage Worked the Hardest

The Fate of Landed Independence in Nineteenth-Century America

Chapter:
(p.39) 2 The Mortgage Worked the Hardest
Source:
Capitalism Takes Command
Author(s):

Jonathan Levy

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226977997.003.0003

In early nineteenth-century America, “landed independence”—a way of life characterized by freehold ownership, command over household labor, and control over agricultural resources—helped farmers to become proprietors rather than members of the expanding class of dependent wage laborers. Freeholders resorted to “mixed farming” to meet their families’ baseline subsistence needs and sell their “marketable surplus” for a profit. At mid-century, American farming evolved into a commercially oriented endeavor with built-in hedges against the vicissitudes of an expanding market system. The ideal of landed independence was filled out by old-age security provided to farmers by their accumulation of landed wealth. Land ownership offered a uniquely autonomous form of commercial life. After 1870, “mortgage-backed securities” emerged in the American market. Capital flowed westward while staples such as corn and wheat flowed eastward. Western farmers turned to the mortgage market both by choice and out of necessity. This chapter explores the transformation of American farming, and its significance not only for its participants, but also for the history of American capitalism.

Keywords:   landed independence, farmers, farming, old-age security, landed wealth, mortgage, capitalism, America, mortgage-backed securities, land ownership

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.