CORN AND THE WESTWARD MOVEMENT.
The story of
Indian corn is the story of the struggle of the human race for food in the
Western Hemisphere. It is the story of definite rotations where corn is the
cultivated crop. The dependence of the Indian upon corn, how it called into
play his inventive genius, and its adoption as a crop and a food by the
early colonists have been mentioned. Its popularity among the colonists
resulted at last in a corn surplus, which was sent to the West Indies and
South American in exchange for products of those countries.
A steady influx of population along the Atlantic coast made more
agricultural land necessary. The westward movement began, and settlements
were made beyond the Alleghenies, where much of the oil was found to be
especially suitable for corn production. The feeding of live stock began,
and the surplus corn crop from west of the Alleghenies moved to the East in
the shape of cattle and hogs. It was a not uncommon sight to see large
droves of cattle and hogs being driven across the mountains from the Ohio
Valley to Baltimore. Increasing trade with the eastern part of the United
States and the beginnings of European trade made systems of transportation
necessary. National highways were opened, canals were constructed, and at
last railroads linked widely separated territory, so that the products of
the West could reach quickly the eastern cities, the Atlantic seaboard, and
The progress of invention and commerce was hastened by rapidly
increasing supplies of corn and corn-fed animals.