Dateline: 28 January 2014
|Drawing by Eric Slaone|
The original spirit of agronomy can never return any more than Park Avenue can grow potatoes the way it did in the 1700s. But a spirit is something that doesn’t die, and the reverence for the land as an inherent part of man must for our eventual survival continue to be an American heritage.
Like much of early Americana, agronomy changed and began its decline during the Civil War period. Young men returned from an unnecessary war too disillusioned to go back to where they had left off: they had seen big cities and quick money. Daddy was no longer the “lord of the earth’; he was regarded as an archaic stay-at-home comic character called Rube, with shoddy clothes, rubber boots and chewing on a blade of grass. The farmstead was no longer an estate built up and left to generation after generation; from then on, children would inherit money instead, and capitalism would become as much a personal philosophy as a national economy.
From, The Spirits of '76 (1976)