The Hand that Holds the Bread
Words & music by George F. Root; 1874
It's difficult to overestimate the importance of America's farms to the Allies in Europe. While the fields of France were covered with trenches, America's prairie lands were producing grain in huge quantities. This was the era when the Great Plains was being plowed as never before, and because the weather was favorable the farms looked like they couldn't fail. After the war, the government would encourage more plowing, the banks would encourage more borrowing, and the climate would re-assert itself, eventually leading to the tragedy of the Dust Bowl. This song comes from an earlier era, when the Grange movement was uniting farmers against the monopoly of the railroads and suppliers in the East. It is very appropriate for the contribution of the farms in the Great War.