The Stone Boy Historical Context

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The Decline of the American Farm Family

In the early years of the United States, farming was the main economic activity of Americans. Most farms were self-sufficient and owned by single families who lived on and ran the farm. In 1900 the average family farm was located half a mile away from its nearest neighbor, which served to isolate farm families. However, farm families formed communities by exchanging labor, attending church, and sending their children to schools.

Beginning in the 1920s, however, the number of farms in the United States began to dwindle. In 1930 a little over 30 million Americans lived on farms. In 1950 the farm population had shrunk to around 23 million, and by 1960, only a few years after Berriault wrote "The Stone Boy," only about 15.6 million Americans still lived on farms. The decade also brought many changes to the way farms were run. In 1953 President Dwight Eisenhower cut government...

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This section contains 619 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Stone Boy Study Guide
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The Stone Boy from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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