The Political Economy of the Family Farm: The Agrarian Roots of American Capitalism

Synopsis

In this work, Headlee argues that the family farm system--with its progressive nature and egalitarian class structure--played an important role in the transition to capitalism in the mid-nineteenth century United States. The family farm is examined in light of its economic and political implications, showing the relationship between the family farm and flegling industrial capitalism, a relationship that fostered the simultaneous industrial and agricultural revolutions. Headlee focuses on the adoption of the horse-drawn mechanical reaper (to harvest wheat) by family farmers in the 1850s.