Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum
Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum
|Creator||Charles Dana Wilber|
|Context||Railroad companies urged settlement of the West by migration to the Great Plains.|
|Audience||Potential settlers and immigrants who considered moving to the Great Plains|
|Purpose||To draw settlers to the Great Plains by creating a theory that "rain will follow the plow"|
Charles Dana Wilber, an amateur scientist, wrote a book titled The Great Valleys and Prairies of Nebraska and the Northwest (1881), arguing that rainfall would increase as farmers moved westward. During the 1870s and 1880s, boosters wanted to see the area of the Great Plains increase in population. Wilber and other boosters sold the myth that the Great Plains would receive abundant rainfall by establishing the theory that, as farmers migrated westward, "rain will follow the plow." The premise of the theory was that as more settlers came, the region would receive more rainfall, and the land would become more bountiful and productive. Wilber used this theory to encourage settlers to come to the Great Plains, a region that others referred to as the "Great American Desert."