Those lines from a poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson helped immortalize the opening musket volleys at the Battle of Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts – the first militia victory in the American Revolution that paved the way towards today’s democracy.
The Old North Bridge was the site of that initial triumph, and today it pays homage to the past with a host of monuments. Among the most popular is the statue of a farmer walking away from his plow with a rifle in hand to join the cause.
References to farming and agriculture, and its significance to the creation of our country and culture, can be found throughout history books and important landmarks.
For example, the U.S. Capitol building bears this famous quote from Daniel Webster: “When tillage begins other arts follow. The farmers, therefore, are the founders of human civilization.”
America is undeniably an agrarian country made strong by its fertile soils and entrepreneurial spirit. Farming was the profession chosen by many of our Founding Fathers. And it’s served as an economic engine pushing the United States towards prosperity for generations.
This connection between agriculture and America – and the idea that the sector will help propel the country to future success – is a major reason that Farmland Partners invests in farmland. We believe that when agriculture succeeds, we all succeed.
So, as we celebrate America’s birthday this July 4th, don’t forget to thank a farmer. And if you’re not sure what to say, here’s a collection of some of our favorite quotes from some Founding Farmers:
It will not be doubted that with reference either to individual or national welfare, agriculture is of primary importance.
Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous, and they are tied to their country and wedded to its liberty and interests by the most lasting bonds.
In every country…Agriculture is the most beneficial and productive object of human industry. This position, generally, if not universally true, applies with peculiar emphasis to the United States, on account of their immense tracts of fertile territory…
There is nothing to try men’s souls nor to excite men’s souls but agriculture. And I say, God speed the plough and prosper [the] stone wall.
There seem to be but three ways for a nation to acquire wealth. The first is by war…This is robbery. The second by commerce, which is generally cheating. The third by agriculture, the only honest way, wherein man receives a real increase of the seed thrown into the ground, in a kind of continual miracle, wrought by the hand of God in his favor, as a reward for his innocent life and his virtuous industry.