Mr. McCormick and His Revolution

One of the many reasons why the North won the Civil War was because by the time that the conflict was fought agriculture in the North was largely mechanized while agriculture in the South was not.  This was largely attributable to one man:  Cyrus McCormick.  McCormick’s father Robert had worked for 26 years on a horse drawn mechanical reaper.  Passing the torch to the next generation, Robert gave his plans to his oldest son Cyrus.  Cyrus, with the help of a slave, Jo Anderson, built a mechanical reaper in 18 months.  The reaper was tested in 1831 and patented by McCormick in 1834.  In 1847 McCormick established the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company and built a huge factory to manufacture reapers in Chicago.  Mechanical reapers were eagerly seized upon by the North.  The South, with slave labor, saw far less need for purchasing reapers.  McCormick reapers greatly diminished the need for manpower on farms, and gave a great impetus to the flow of labor from farm to city in the North.  During the Civil War, innumerable farmers  were able to enlist in the Union Army while their brothers and sons too young to enlist, wives, daughters and sisters ran the farms with the McCormick reapers. (more…)

Published in: on April 16, 2010 at 5:49 am  Comments Off on Mr. McCormick and His Revolution  
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