Former Minnesota farmer Oliver Hudson Kelley founds the Grange, which became a an effective political force amongst western farmers.

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Though he thrived up in Boston, Kelley determined in his early on twenties that he want to become a farmer. In 1849, that booked i on a steamboat for St. Paul, Minnesota. Despite the Minnesota area was dominated much more by the Indian trade than farming, Kelley shrewdly experienced that the future of the region lay in agriculture, and also he showed to be a skilled and also progressive farmer. Kelley got local fame because that boldly trying out with brand-new crops, installing an elaborate irrigation system, and also buying one of the very first mechanical reapers in the state. His attempts at scientific farming and also a collection of columns he wrote for nationwide newspapers carried him nationwide recognition—in 1864, he winner a reputation clerking position under the federal commissioner of agriculture in Washington, D.C.

While ~ above a tour of southern farms in 1866, Kelley to be struck by the warm reception he obtained from his fellow Masons in the South, despite the otherwise pervasive dislike of northerners left over from the civil War. Figured out to construct a national organization come unify farmers, he went back to Washington and gathered a group of like-minded friends. In 1867, these men came to be the founders of the order of the Patrons of Husbandry, much better known as the Grange.

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Although the Grange, like the Masons, started primarily as a social organization designed to administer educational and also recreational opportunities for farmers, it advanced into a significant political force. Farmers that gathered at local Grange Halls often voiced similar complaints around the high prices charged by warehouses and also railroads to take care of their grain, and also they started to organize because that state and also federal controls end these pivotal financial issues. The Grange smartly known the prestige of consisting of women, who regularly proved to it is in the organization’s most specialized members.

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The Grange’s political activism resulted in a flurry of law that came to be known together the “Granger Laws,” which were not really effective in addressing the farmers’ troubles with the railroads and also warehouses but did administer a crucial precedent for state and also federal regulation of exclusive enterprise for the “public interest.” The laws were passed in five mid-western states. In years to come, political leaders took a cue indigenous the Granger Laws and created controls end many large business industries, native meatpacking to medicine making, ~ above the grounds that governmental regulations were vital to protect the interests of every the people, not simply farmers. The Grange additionally played a key role in developing the Interstate business Act the 1887, which called for the first federal regulation that railroads to control unfair shipping rates.