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The Man Behind Community Living in America – Grange Foundation History

The year 1867, was a significant year for Americans and the basis of community living benefits in America. A farmer by the name Oliver Hudson Kelley chose to start the Grange as a political force to help with farmers in America. Oliver was in Minnesota when he founded the Grange. However, he was born in Boston and then decided to become a farmer when he was in his twenties.

He took a steamboat and headed to St.Paul in Minnesota where Indian trade was more prevalent than farming. Oliver was an intelligent farmer who was able to thrive in the area in spite of his profession not being recognized. Oliver was able to see that the area was great for agriculture and he knew that his skills as a skilled and progressive farmer would be a key asset in developing the area for the future. With his proposals to the locals in the area he gained immense popularity and fame. He brought in many reforms and introduced new crops and put extensive irrigation systems in place. The farmers in the area were impressed with the first mechanical reaper he brought into the state and was immediately sure that he would bring a lot of much-deserved recognition and profit to the farming industry in the area.

He attempted to include scientific farming and writing for national newspapers about the agriculture in Minnesota. The attempts were very fruitful not just with the locals in the area, but also garnered national recognition. The national recognition gave him a much-deserved clerical position with the federal commission for agriculture in Washington.

As part of his position, Oliver found the opportunity to travel throughout the country and identify the different potentials, various farming lands posed for the country. When he visited the southern farms, he was very impressed to find that the Masons in the south were very cordial and excelled when it came to hospitality. They were very different from the northerners who were bitter after the Civil War. The warmth of the south triggered a train of thought, and he decided to form a national organization to bring all farmers together, in small sects of communities that have like-minded people. He put together a group of like-minded people who he thought would be perfect to spearhead the plans and in 1867, the men became the first founders of the Grange.

The Grange was first developed mainly to provide educational and recreational benefits to the farmers; it became a powerful political force in due course. The farmers who gathered at the community halls were able to raise any concerns that they had, and soon, federal controls along with state legislations were instilled in place to address the concerns. The importance of women in society was first recognized by the Grange as well, as many of the women were very dedicated to the success of the agricultural economy of the country. Soon, Granger laws came into force all in the hope that public interest would be met. Politicians found inspiration from the Granger laws and were able to create laws to control the manufacturing of any product or equipment that was in public interest. What Oliver Kelley started as a union, has now grown to become one of the most essential politically influential communities in America.

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