Foods in 1850-1900

        The History of the United States of America and its history of food were constantly altered. During the 1850-1900, there were huge differences in America. First, people did not call themselves by colonial people no more, because a new federal government was established by colonies, and they became states or cities. Second, the new united nation had enormous power by its democratic structure and was ready to expand. As the nation was growing, there were increasing rate of bloodshed conflicts and military interventions. Hence, the supplies or so-called the army rations of the new nation have to be renewed as well. 

       During the 1850 to 1900, there were many military events in America such as overseas dispatches of army troops, and the Civil War. Every military campaign requires certain supplies for the troops. Whether or not they encountered and fought the enemy, the units have to eat while they are at the fields. According to varieties of historical facts, the first rations for the American troops, which were the continental army, were not very salubrious or mouth-watering. The lacking knowledge of food preservations was the main cause. However, during 1850-1900, industrialization of the Northern part and affluence of farm products from Southern part increased the quality of the ration. When the civil war begins, the confederate army adopted the rations from the Union soldiers. However, because of its shortage of foods and unorganized purveying system, they had to reduce the quantities of the foods.

      The official ration for the US army during 1850-1900 was usually 12 oz of pork or bacon, 1 lb. 4oz of fresh or salt beef, 1 lb. 6 oz of soft bread or flour, 1 lb. of hard bread or 1ib. 4 oz cornmeal. There was not any big difference between the ration between the Union and the Confederate army except the fact that the confederate army later changed the cornmeal into the wheat flour. Each soldier carried his rations in the haversack. The top haversack on the left picture was the Confederate haversack and was waterproofing. The bottom haversack is called the Federal haversack and was used by the Union soldiers. Coffee and molasses were served as well as some soaps and candles. The army rations always contained higher calories twice or more than the average quantity needed for a normal male. There was a reduced version of ration for the troops when they were marching.  

       This process of improving rations also reflects that the military power of the US is growing and establishing its basis. In fact, there was a new ideology called the ‘Imperialism’ during that time from 1850 to 1900. Globally, every nation was trying to expand its territories by occupying the others and the nation’s benefit was more important than the individual’s benefit. The U.S also expanded its territory inexorably. It opened the closed-policy of Japan, occupied Puerto Rico, Philippines, Guam, and islands in Midway. Including the U.S, the whole world was caught by the fever of Imperialism. Unfortunately, the US citizens and politicians did not know that this will lead the world into one of the worst and tragic events in human history, the Great War.

  -Chris Kim-

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One Response to Foods in 1850-1900

  1. mlmuntz says:

    “people did not call themselves by colonial people no more” –“any more” please.

    Very interesting.

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