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Mennonite-Amish Culture in the Pen-Mar Highlands, page 14

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years. It has known famine and starvation intermittently from the beginning of her civilization. Its history has been punctuated with wars. Its agrarian economy geared on a peace-time basis has never succeeded in providing sufficient food in time of war. Its present plight is due to a communist regime which is trying to convert the nation to an enforced industrialization.

In a TIME MAGAZINE article dated July 20, 1962 under the title "A Farewell To Farms" there is this comment: "In an agricultural policy paper published this week, the Committee for Economic Development, a highly respected organization of top-level business men and educators, takes a cool-eyed look at the Federal Government's farm mess and concludes that the essential problem is how to get more of the nation's farmers off the farm."

It would appear that an agrarian culture unrelated to industry is obsolete in the modern world of China. On the other hand, by reason of industry's assistance to the farms in the United States, the vocation of farming is being curtailed. It means larger farms, an increasing amount of machinery to supplant manual labor, and a larger monetary profit.

The Pennsylvania-Dutch economy differs sharply from that of Communist China and the confused policy of the United States government. Conversing with a wise old man of the mountains he queried: "If a depression would again visit this country how many people could survive without financial assistance from some source? About the only people that could survive and remain solvent would be the Pennsylvania Dutch."

Survival and security confronts the human race in every land in terms of new dimensions. Why are the Pennsylvania Dutch, a minority group, able in each generation to live prosperously and happy, immune and unaffected by the shifting economic philosophy and practice of our pseudo-progressive America?

Their success becomes more dramatic when their way of life continues to be challenged; when all through our history the land has been more exploited than cultivated; when since the Civil War the children of pioneer families have forsaken the land and become absorbed in the cities; and when the prevailing attitude of the citizens at large has been one of disdain and discrimination.

But they have some historically prominent friends on their side. "Like Aristotle two thousand years before and agricultural philosophers all through the ages Thomas Jefferson distrusted the arts of commerce and industry, the arts of buying in the cheapest markets and selling in the dearest. As a corollary, he was convinced that the American system of liberty would come to an end when the people were congested in the cities and dependent for a livelihood upon the caprices of trade." (from "Economic History of U. S." by Charles and Mary Beard.)


Felix G. Robinson


Collection Location:
Ruth Enlow Library, Oakland

Original Size:
22 x 15 cms

Maryland, History

Western Maryland, 1750-1963

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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