Much of rural New Hampshire in the late 19th century was locked in a downward spiral of population decline, abandonment of farms, reversion of cleared land to forest and shrinking of villages, all of which contributed to widespread feelings of melancholy and loss among its residents. The development of the Grange movement in the state in the 1880's and 1890's was aided greatly by people's hunger for a new vehicle to draw communities together for social interaction, entertainment and mutual support. As the Grange rapidly established chapters throughout the state its influence in public affairs expanded greatly as well, such that by 1910 it had become a major force in policy-making in Concord, while many of its members had risen to important leadership positions, including that of governor. The Grange brought an agenda that aligned closely with the Progressive wave that swept New Hampshire politics in the early 20th century and many of the initiatives it advocated became law, placing the state at the leading edge in a number of areas of reform. This lecture will address the rise, the triumphs and the eventual decline of the Grange movement in New Hampshire.
This program is sponsored by the New Hampshire Humanities Council.
New Hampshire State Grange
National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry on Wikipedia
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