University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Effects of Agriculture
Because it was tremendously essential for survival, had a monumental impact immediately on society and continues to affect us even to this day, agriculture was the most influential development of the early civilizations. The people of the first civilizations needed agriculture because it was an easy, more efficient way of obtaining food. The early peoples had to hunt and gather their food, and, “Hunting depended on the careful observation of behavioral patterns” (Duiker, W. J. & Spielvogel, J. J. 2001). It must have been challenging to always be moving and searching, just so they could find food that day.
However, deciding to stop and grow food, in one reachable convenient location, would have solved the issue of having to go through all the extra steps of hunting down animals. After a long time of humans living successfully in the Old Stone Age, and ice age occurred cause a devastating drought, which killed off most of the vegetation. “All living things started clustering around sources such as lakes and river” (Howe, H. , & Howe, R. T. 1992). Because all living things clustered around water sources, there was more competition, human and non-human alike, for the already diminished food supply.
Naturally, the people of the early civilizations would need to grow their own food in order to sustain their population. Shortly after farming’s conception many life-changing discoveries, like trade, were made. “Some people became artisan, made weapons, and jewelry that were traded with neighbors” (Duiker, W. J. & Spielvogel, J. J. 2001). When people started to farm they began producing more food then they need. These food surpluses allowed people to do other things with their time such as, make weapons and jewelry that could in turn be traded for other people’s goods.
The change to farming also immediately affected the relationships between men and women. “Men assumed the primary responsibility for working in the fields and herding animals, jobs that kept them away from the home. Women remained behind caring for the children and weaving cloth, making cheese from milk, and jobs that required considerable labor in one place” (Duiker, W. J. & Spielvogel, J. J. 2001). The men had to go work in the fields because planting, growing and harvesting crops required long hours of great physical labor that the women couldn’t take.
Also the work in the fields was seen as more important, and so men assumed a more dominant role in society. Not only did agriculture immediately change society, but the changes it created are still evident today. Trade is done in the almost same way and for the same reasons as in ancient times. People still make goods and perform services in exchange for something else. However, rather than exchanging work for another good or service, people today use the cash system. In the cash system people provide labor so they get money in return.
The money they earn can then be used to by various products or services. The relationship between men and women established because of agriculture is prevalent today as well. Not only do men still have a more dominant role in society but they still do more difficult and important work. The standard of men working while the women stay home and care for the house is still typical for families today. If the women do work though, they almost never have physically demanding jobs with long, hard hours like being a construction worker or farmer.
Also not only are the vast majority of politicians, C. E. O. s, business owners, and other powerful workers men, but men also more often than not get paid higher than women. Truly, because of the fact the early people needed a more steady food source, it almost instantaneously changed humankind, and it evidently still affects the world today, agriculture was the most significant advancement of the early peoples. Bibliography Duiker, W. J. & Spielvogel, J. J. , (2001) Third Edition World History Comprehensive Volume. assBelmont, CA: Thomson Learning, Inc. Howe, H. , & Howe, R. T. , (1992) A World History. White Plains, NY: Longman