iThink ...all wealth originates with the land, making farming the most productive enterprise. Agrarianism claims that agriculture is the foundation of all other professions.

Philosophically, agrarianism reflects the ideas of John Locke, who declared in his Second Treatise of Civil Government (1690) that those who work land are its rightful owners. His labor theory of value influenced the thinking of Thomas Jefferson, who in turn shaped the way many nineteenth-century American homesteaders understood ownership of their farms.

Jefferson wrote in 1785 in a letter to John Jay that,"Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous, & they are tied to their country & wedded to its liberty & interests by the most lasting bonds."

Richard Hofstadter has traced the sentimental attachment to the rural way of life which is "a kind of homage that Americans have paid to the fancied innocence of their origins". Hofstadter notes that to call this a "myth" is not to imply that the idea is simply false. Rather the myth so effectively an agrarian ethos that it profoundly influences people's ways of perceiving values and hence their behavior.

He emphasizes the importance of the agrarian myth in American politics and life even after industrialization had revolutionized the American economy and life. He stresses the significance of the writings of Jefferson and his followers in the South, such as John Taylor of Caroline in the development of agricultural fundamentalism.

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