The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 74, July 1970 - April, 1971 Page: 526
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
clash of two determined forces: the producers of live cattle and the
Chicago meat packers. At first the producers' efforts to combat the
beef combines-who were charged with manipulating the prices paid
to cattlemen-were disjointed and smacked of outmoded individual-
ism. Yet these early encounters gradually brought the realization that
relief could come only through congressional legislation, and that stock-
men would have to organize if they were to triumph over the likes of
Armour, Swift, and Morris in the national political arena. Their at-
tempts to achieve regulation were part of the wrenching adaptation
of all agriculturists to the realities of the new business age. This
difficult adjustment inaugurated modern cattle raising.'
During the boom period of the late 1870's and early 188o's, eastern
and foreign interests invested heavily in Texas land and cattle. Wide-
spread overgrazing caused little worry so long as profits remained high.
But nature intervened, and this short-grass empire fell victim to
drought and blizzards. Bone-thin steers were unloaded on a sagging
market in hope of averting total financial disaster, and hundredweight
stockyard prices tumbled.' Although Texans were spared the extreme
losses of northern stockraisers, the big "die-up" had still hit them hard
in the pocketbook. The market was glutted and the eastern palate
demanded a better grade of beef; but in many minds was the convic-
tion that the so-called "Chicago syndicate" was the chief cause of their
plight. C. C. Slaughter of Dallas, perhaps the largest operator in Texas,
theorized that drought and disease "come and go," but the "Big Four"
would go on forever unless checked."
"The following monographs and articles discuss the agricultural response to the new
economy and the new century: Solon J. Buck, The Agrarian Crusade: A Chronicle of the
Farmer in Politics (New Haven, 1920); Vernon L. Parrington, Main Currents in American
Thought (3 vols.; New York, 1927-1930), III; John D. Hicks, The Populist Revolt: A
History of the Farmers' Alliance and the People's Party (Minneapolis, 1931); Fred A.
Shannon, The Farmer's Last Frontier: Agriculture, x86o-z897 (New York, 1945); A.
Whitney Griswold, Farming and Democracy (New York, 1948); Allan G. Bogue, Money
at Interest: The Farm Mortgage on the Middle Border (Ithaca, 1955); Louis H. Douglas
(ed.), Agrarianism in American History (Lexington, Mass., 1969); Theodore Saloutos,
"The Agricultural Problem and Nineteenth-Century Industrialism," Agricultural History,
XXII (July, 1948), 156-174; wayne D. Rasmussen, "The Impact of Technological
Change on American Agriculture, 1862-1962," Journal of Economic History, XXII (De-
cember, 1962), 578-591.
'Texas stockraising possibilties were boosted in National Live-Stock Journal, XIII
(August, 1882), 348-349; (September, 1882), 415-416. See also Gene M. Gressley, Bankers
and Cattlemen (New York, 1966), Chs. II and III.
5Dallas Globe Democrat, quoted in Las Vegas (N.M.) Stock Grower, October 23, 1886.
See also San Antonio Texas Stockman and Farmer, October 12, 1886 (hereafter cited as
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 74, July 1970 - April, 1971, periodical, 1971; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101200/m1/538/: accessed October 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.