This page is a text version of the Beckoning Hills History Book. This is the story of the Turtle Mountain Area of Manitoba. You can get a PDF copy of the book on our full version page. The PDF copy is an exact page by page representation of the original book. This text version has been reformated for the web and contains text recognition mistakes. These mistakes do not appear in the full version. The full version also includes each image in the original book.

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CHAPTER FOUR

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL PROGRESS

In the writing of history, whether national or local, interest for a long time concentrated upon political and constitutional questions, forms of government and their development. Religion was not dis­ regarded, but little consideration was given to economics, how men earned their living and how they spent their income. Such a branch of history is of absorbing interest as it deals with the every day doings of the community. The economic history of a purely agricul­ tural community might be considered as a subject requiring no special investigation, but it is bound up with many matters which can be considered as part of the nation's history-the government's land policy, railway policies, trade policies, various strains of wheat or the invention of various types of machines. To deal with these adequately would require much study and investigation, and is beyond the scope of a local history, but there are certain factors that are peculiar to our district and these are worthy of consideration.

Among the early settlers of the district there were members of numerous trades and occupations, such as merchants, clerks, millworkers, stone masons, bricklayers, plasterers, wheelwrights and carpenters. The intention of all was to make their living from the soil and all who were eligible, made entry for a grant of govern­ ment land. In acquiring land they had no intention of becoming peasant proprietors, living on what they could produce, and produc­ ing only what was essential to their needs. They had a vision of unlimited quantities of wheat being grown in the West, and made available for export, and were part of the system of Capitalism which then embraced the whole world.

The classical school of economists, beginning with Adam Smith, has maintained that wealth is derived from land, labour and capital, and the land acquired by the early settlers, either by homestead or pre-emption was the source of the wealth of the district. The methods of farming were of the simplest nature, and nothing was then known of crop rotation, soil erosion, summer-fallowing or strip farming. Having located a homestead, each farmer set about breaking the land, the average area broken each year not exceeding fifteen acres. None of the farms in those days exceeded 320 acres, and by 1885 not more than a fifth of the land was under cultivation.

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