Home — Essay Samples — Social Issues — Social Movements — Black Power Movement

essay on black power

Essays on Black Power Movement

The civil rights movement: black power movement, the black panther party as the leaders of black power movement.

Rated by a GradeFixer's writer

Black Arts Era as The Origin of The Black Power Movement

Perfectly written custom essays as fast as you need them.

Our Experienced Professionals Write Custom Essays According to Your Instructions


experts online

The Presence of Black Theology in Black Power Movement


Get Your Personalized Essay in 3 Hours or Less!


Top 10 Similar Topics

We use cookies to personalyze your web-site experience. By continuing we’ll assume you board with our cookie policy .

We can help you get a better grade and deliver your task on time!

essay on black power

Ralph Waldo Emerson

His tongue was framed to music, And his hand was armed with skill, His face was the mould of beauty, And his heart the throne of will.

There is not yet any inventory of a man's faculties, any more than a bible of his opinions. Who shall set a limit to the influence of a human being? There are men, who, by their sympathetic attractions, carry nations with them, and lead the activity of the human race. And if there be such a tie, that, wherever the mind of man goes, nature will accompany him, perhaps there are men whose magnetisms are of that force to draw material and elemental powers, and, where they appear, immense instrumentalities organize around them. Life is a search after power; and this is an element with which the world is so saturated, — there is no chink or crevice in which it is not lodged, — that no honest seeking goes unrewarded. A man should prize events and possessions as the ore in which this fine mineral is found; and he can well afford to let events and possessions, and the breath of the body go, if their value has been added to him in the shape of power. If he have secured the elixir, he can spare the wide gardens from which it was distilled. A cultivated man, wise to know and bold to perform, is the end to which nature works, and the education of the will is the flowering and result of all this geology and astronomy.

All successful men have agreed in one thing, — they were causationists . They believed that things went not by luck, but by law; that there was not a weak or a cracked link in the chain that joins the first and last of things. A belief in causality, or strict connection between every trifle and the principle of being, and, in consequence, belief in compensation, or, that nothing is got for nothing, — characterizes all valuable minds, and must control every effort that is made by an industrious one. The most valiant men are the best believers in the tension of the laws. "All the great captains," said Bonaparte, "have performed vast achievements by conforming with the rules of the art, — by adjusting efforts to obstacles."

The key to the age may be this, or that, or the other, as the young orators describe; — the key to all ages is — Imbecility; imbecility in the vast majority of men, at all times, and, even in heroes, in all but certain eminent moments; victims of gravity, custom, and fear. This gives force to the strong, — that the multitude have no habit of self-reliance or original action.

We must reckon success a constitutional trait. Courage, — the old physicians taught, (and their meaning holds, if their physiology is a little mythical,) — courage, or the degree of life, is as the degree of circulation of the blood in the arteries. "During passion, anger, fury, trials of strength, wrestling, fighting, a large amount of blood is collected in the arteries, the maintenance of bodily strength requiring it, and but little is sent into the veins. This condition is constant with intrepid persons." Where the arteries hold their blood, is courage and adventure possible. Where they pour it unrestrained into the veins, the spirit is low and feeble. For performance of great mark, it needs extraordinary health. If Eric is in robust health, and has slept well, and is at the top of his condition, and thirty years old, at his departure from Greenland, he will steer west, and his ships will reach Newfoundland. But take out Eric, and put in a stronger and bolder man, — Biorn, or Thorfin, — and the ships will, with just as much ease, sail six hundred, one thousand, fifteen hundred miles further, and reach Labrador and New England. There is no chance in results. With adults, as with children, one class enter cordially into the game, and whirl with the whirling world; the others have cold hands, and remain bystanders; or are only dragged in by the humor and vivacity of those who can carry a dead weight. The first wealth is health. Sickness is poor-spirited, and cannot serve any one: it must husband its resources to live. But health or fulness answers its own ends, and has to spare, runs over, and inundates the neighborhoods and creeks of other men's necessities.

All power is of one kind, a sharing of the nature of the world. The mind that is parallel with the laws of nature will be in the current of events, and strong with their strength. One man is made of the same stuff of which events are made; is in sympathy with the course of things; can predict it. Whatever befalls, befalls him first; so that he is equal to whatever shall happen. A man who knows men, can talk well on politics, trade, law, war, religion. For, everywhere, men are led in the same manners .

The advantage of a strong pulse is not to be supplied by any labor, art, or concert. It is like the climate, which easily rears a crop, which no glass, or irrigation, or tillage, or manures, can elsewhere rival. It is like the opportunity of a city like New York, or Constantinople, which needs no diplomacy to force capital or genius or labor to it. They come of themselves, as the waters flow to it. So a broad, healthy, massive understanding seems to lie on the shore of unseen rivers, of unseen oceans, which are covered with barks, that, night and day, are drifted to this point. That is poured into its lap, which other men lie plotting for. It is in everybody's secret; anticipates everybody's discovery; and if it do not command every fact of the genius and the scholar, it is because it is large and sluggish, and does not think them worth the exertion which you do.

This affirmative force is in one, and is not in another, as one horse has the spring in him, and another in the whip. "On the neck of the young man," said Hafiz, "sparkles no gem so gracious as enterprise." Import into any stationary district, as into an old Dutch population in New York or Pennsylvania, or among the planters of Virginia, a colony of hardy Yankees, with seething brains, heads full of steam-hammer, pulley, crank, and toothed wheel, — and everything begins to shine with values. What enhancement to all the water and land in England, is the arrival of James Watt or Brunel! In every company, there is not only the active and passive sex, but, in both men and women, a deeper and more important sex of mind , namely, the inventive or creative class of both men and women, and the uninventive or accepting class. Each plus man represents his set, and, if he have the accidental advantage of personal ascendency, — which implies neither more nor less of talent, but merely the temperamental or taming eye of a soldier or a schoolmaster, (which one has, and one has not, as one has a black moustache and one a blond,) then quite easily and without envy or resistance, all his coadjutors and feeders will admit his right to absorb them. The merchant works by book-keeper and cashier; the lawyer's authorities are hunted up by clerks; the geologist reports the surveys of his subalterns; Commander Wilkes appropriates the results of all the naturalists attached to the Expedition; Thorwaldsen's statue is finished by stone-cutters; Dumas has journeymen; and Shakespeare was theatre-manager, and used the labor of many young men, as well as the playbooks.

There is always room for a man of force, and he makes room for many. Society is a troop of thinkers, and the best heads among them take the best places. A feeble man can see the farms that are fenced and tilled, the houses that are built. The strong man sees the possible houses and farms. His eye makes estates, as fast as the sun breeds clouds.

When a new boy comes into school, when a man travels, and encounters strangers every day, or, when into any old club a new comer is domesticated, that happens which befalls, when a strange ox is driven into a pen or pasture where cattle are kept; there is at once a trial of strength between the best pair of horns and the new comer, and it is settled thenceforth which is the leader. So now, there is a measuring of strength, very courteous, but decisive, and an acquiescence thenceforward when these two meet. Each reads his fate in the other's eyes. The weaker party finds, that none of his information or wit quite fits the occasion. He thought he knew this or that: he finds that he omitted to learn the end of it. Nothing that he knows will quite hit the mark, whilst all the rival's arrows are good, and well thrown. But if he knew all the facts in the encyclopaedia, it would not help him: for this is an affair of presence of mind, of attitude, of aplomb: the opponent has the sun and wind, and, in every cast, the choice of weapon and mark; and, when he himself is matched with some other antagonist, his own shafts fly well and hit. 'Tis a question of stomach and constitution. The second man is as good as the first, — perhaps better; but has not stoutness or stomach, as the first has, and so his wit seems over-fine or under-fine.

Health is good, — power, life, that resists disease, poison, and all enemies, and is conservative, as well as creative. Here is question, every spring, whether to graft with wax, or whether with clay; whether to whitewash or to potash, or to prune; but the one point is the thrifty tree. A good tree, that agrees with the soil, will grow in spite of blight , or bug, or pruning, or neglect, by night and by day, in all weathers and all treatments. Vivacity, leadership, must be had, and we are not allowed to be nice in choosing. We must fetch the pump with dirty water, if clean cannot be had. If we will make bread, we must have contagion, yeast, emptyings, or what not, to induce fermentation into the dough: as the torpid artist seeks inspiration at any cost, by virtue or by vice, by friend or by fiend, by prayer or by wine. And we have a certain instinct, that where is great amount of life, though gross and peccant, it has its own checks and purifications, and will be found at last in harmony with moral laws.

We watch in children with pathetic interest, the degree in which they possess recuperative force. When they are hurt by us, or by each other, or go to the bottom of the class, or miss the annual prizes, or are beaten in the game, — if they lose heart, and remember the mischance in their chamber at home, they have a serious check. But if they have the buoyancy and resistance that preoccupies them with new interest in the new moment, — the wounds cicatrize, and the fibre is the tougher for the hurt.

One comes to value this plus health, when he sees that all difficulties vanish before it. A timid man listening to the alarmists in Congress, and in the newspapers, and observing the profligacy of party, — sectional interests urged with a fury which shuts its eyes to consequences, with a mind made up to desperate extremities, ballot in one hand, and rifle in the other, — might easily believe that he and his country have seen their best days, and he hardens himself the best he can against the coming ruin. But, after this has been foretold with equal confidence fifty times, and government six per cents have not declined a quarter of a mill, he discovers that the enormous elements of strength which are here in play, make our politics unimportant. Personal power, freedom, and the resources of nature strain every faculty of every citizen. We prosper with such vigor, that, like thrifty trees, which grow in spite of ice, lice, mice, and borers, so we do not suffer from the profligate swarms that fatten on the national treasury. The huge animals nourish huge parasites, and the rancor of the disease attests the strength of the constitution. The same energy in the Greek Demos drew the remark, that the evils of popular government appear greater than they are; there is compensation for them in the spirit and energy it awakens. The rough and ready style which belongs to a people of sailors, foresters, farmers, and mechanics, has its advantages. Power educates the potentate. As long as our people quote English standards they dwarf their own proportions. A Western lawyer of eminence said to me he wished it were a penal offence to bring an English law-book into a court in this country, so pernicious had he found in his experience our deference to English precedent. The very word 'commerce' has only an English meaning, and is pinched to the cramp exigencies of English experience. The commerce of rivers, the commerce of railroads, and who knows but the commerce of air-balloons, must add an American extension to the pond-hole of admiralty. As long as our people quote English standards, they will miss the sovereignty of power; but let these rough riders, — legislators in shirt-sleeves, — Hoosier, Sucker, Wolverine, Badger, — or whatever hard head Arkansas, Oregon, or Utah sends, half orator, half assassin, to represent its wrath and cupidity at Washington, — let these drive as they may; and the disposition of territories and public lands, the necessity of balancing and keeping at bay the snarling majorities of German, Irish, and of native millions, will bestow promptness, address, and reason, at last, on our buffalo-hunter, and authority and majesty of manners . The instinct of the people is right. Men expect from good whigs, put into office by the respectability of the country, much less skill to deal with Mexico, Spain, Britain, or with our own malcontent members, than from some strong transgressor, like Jefferson, or Jackson, who first conquers his own government, and then uses the same genius to conquer the foreigner. The senators who dissented from Mr. Polk's Mexican war, were not those who knew better, but those who, from political position, could afford it; not Webster, but Benton and Calhoun.

This power, to be sure, is not clothed in satin. 'Tis the power of Lynch law, of soldiers and pirates; and it bullies the peaceable and loyal. But it brings its own antidote; and here is my point, — that all kinds of power usually emerge at the same time; good energy, and bad; power of mind, with physical health; the ecstasies of devotion, with the exasperations of debauchery. The same elements are always present, only sometimes these conspicuous, and sometimes those; what was yesterday foreground, being to-day background, — what was surface, playing now a not less effective part as basis. The longer the drought lasts, the more is the atmosphere surcharged with water. The faster the ball falls to the sun, the force to fly off is by so much augmented. And, in morals, wild liberty breeds iron conscience; natures with great impulses have great resources, and return from far. In politics, the sons of democrats will be whigs; whilst red republicanism, in the father, is a spasm of nature to engender an intolerable tyrant in the next age. On the other hand, conservatism, ever more timorous and narrow, disgusts the children, and drives them for a mouthful of fresh air into radicalism.

Those who have most of this coarse energy, — the 'bruisers,' who have run the gauntlet of caucus and tavern through the county or the state, have their own vices, but they have the good nature of strength and courage. Fierce and unscrupulous, they are usually frank and direct, and above falsehood. Our politics fall into bad hands, and churchmen and men of refinement, it seems agreed, are not fit persons to send to Congress. Politics is a deleterious profession, like some poisonous handicrafts. Men in power have no opinions, but may be had cheap for any opinion, for any purpose, — and if it be only a question between the most civil and the most forcible, I lean to the last. These Hoosiers and Suckers are really better than the snivelling opposition. Their wrath is at least of a bold and manly cast. They see, against the unanimous declarations of the people, how much crime the people will bear; they proceed from step to step, and they have calculated but too justly upon their Excellencies, the New England governors, and upon their Honors, the New England legislators. The messages of the governors and the resolutions of the legislatures, are a proverb for expressing a sham virtuous indignation, which, in the course of events, is sure to be belied.

In trade, also, this energy usually carries a trace of ferocity. Philanthropic and religious bodies do not commonly make their executive officers out of saints. The communities hitherto founded by Socialists, — the Jesuits, the Port-Royalists, the American communities at New Harmony, at Brook Farm, at Zoar, are only possible, by installing Judas as steward. The rest of the offices may be filled by good burgesses. The pious and charitable proprietor has a foreman not quite so pious and charitable. The most amiable of country gentlemen has a certain pleasure in the teeth of the bull-dog which guards his orchard. Of the Shaker society, it was formerly a sort of proverb in the country, that they always sent the devil to market. And in representations of the Deity, painting, poetry, and popular religion have ever drawn the wrath from Hell. It is an esoteric doctrine of society, that a little wickedness is good to make muscle; as if conscience were not good for hands and legs, as if poor decayed formalists of law and order cannot run like wild goats, wolves, and conies; that, as there is a use in medicine for poisons, so the world cannot move without rogues; that public spirit and the ready hand are as well found among the malignants. 'Tis not very rare, the coincidence of sharp private and political practice, with public spirit, and good neighborhood.

I knew a burly Boniface who for many years kept a public-house in one of our rural capitals. He was a knave whom the town could ill spare. He was a social, vascular creature, grasping and selfish. There was no crime which he did not or could not commit. But he made good friends of the selectmen, served them with his best chop, when they supped at his house, and also with his honor the Judge, he was very cordial, grasping his hand. He introduced all the fiends, male and female, into the town, and united in his person the functions of bully, incendiary, swindler, barkeeper, and burglar. He girdled the trees, and cut off the horses' tails of the temperance people, in the night. He led the 'rummies' and radicals in town-meeting with a speech. Meantime, he was civil, fat, and easy, in his house, and precisely the most public-spirited citizen. He was active in getting the roads repaired and planted with shade-trees; he subscribed for the fountains, the gas, and the telegraph; he introduced the new horse-rake, the new scraper, the baby-jumper, and what not, that Connecticut sends to the admiring citizens. He did this the easier, that the peddler stopped at his house, and paid his keeping, by setting up his new trap on the landlord's premises.

Whilst thus the energy for originating and executing work, deforms itself by excess, and so our axe chops off our own fingers, — this evil is not without remedy. All the elements whose aid man calls in, will sometimes become his masters, especially those of most subtle force. Shall he, then, renounce steam, fire, and electricity, or, shall he learn to deal with them? The rule for this whole class of agencies is, — all plus is good; only put it in the right place.

Men of this surcharge of arterial blood cannot live on nuts, herb-tea, and elegies; cannot read novels, and play whist; cannot satisfy all their wants at the Thursday Lecture, or the Boston Athenaeum. They pine for adventure, and must go to Pike's Peak; had rather die by the hatchet of a Pawnee, than sit all day and every day at a counting-room desk. They are made for war, for the sea, for mining, hunting, and clearing; for hair-breadth adventures, huge risks, and the joy of eventful living. Some men cannot endure an hour of calm at sea. I remember a poor Malay cook, on board a Liverpool packet, who, when the wind blew a gale, could not contain his joy; "Blow!" he cried, "me do tell you, blow!" Their friends and governors must see that some vent for their explosive complexion is provided. The roisters who are destined for infamy at home, if sent to Mexico, will "cover you with glory," and come back heroes and generals. There are Oregons, Californias, and Exploring Expeditions enough appertaining to America, to find them in files to gnaw, and in crocodiles to eat. The young English are fine animals, full of blood, and when they have no wars to breathe their riotous valors in, they seek for travels as dangerous as war, diving into Maelstroms; swimming Hellesponts; wading up the snowy Himmaleh; hunting lion, rhinoceros, elephant, in South Africa; gypsying with Borrow in Spain and Algiers; riding alligators in South America with Waterton; utilizing Bedouin, Sheik, and Pacha, with Layard; yachting among the icebergs of Lancaster Sound; peeping into craters on the equator; or running on the creases of Malays in Borneo.

The excess of virility has the same importance in general history, as in private and industrial life. Strong race or strong individual rests at last on natural forces, which are best in the savage, who, like the beasts around him, is still in reception of the milk from the teats of Nature. Cut off the connection between any of our works, and this aboriginal source, and the work is shallow. The people lean on this, and the mob is not quite so bad an argument as we sometimes say, for it has this good side. "March without the people," said a French deputy from the tribune, "and you march into night: their instincts are a finger-pointing of Providence, always turned toward real benefit. But when you espouse an Orleans party, or a Bourbon, or a Montalembert party, or any other but an organic party, though you mean well, you have a personality instead of a principle, which will inevitably drag you into a corner."

The best anecdotes of this force are to be had from savage life, in explorers, soldiers, and buccaneers. But who cares for fallings-out of assassins, and fights of bears, or grindings of icebergs? Physical force has no value, where there is nothing else. Snow in snow-banks, fire in volcanoes and solfataras is cheap. The luxury of ice is in tropical countries, and midsummer days. The luxury of fire is, to have a little on our hearth: and of electricity, not volleys of the charged cloud, but the manageable stream on the battery-wires. So of spirit, or energy; the rests or remains of it in the civil and moral man, are worth all the cannibals in the Pacific.

In history, the great moment is, when the savage is just ceasing to be a savage, with all his hairy Pelasgic strength directed on his opening sense of beauty: — and you have Pericles and Phidias, — not yet passed over into the Corinthian civility. Everything good in nature and the world is in that moment of transition, when the swarthy juices still flow plentifully from nature, but their astringency or acridity is got out by ethics and humanity.

The triumphs of peace have been in some proximity to war. Whilst the hand was still familiar with the sword-hilt, whilst the habits of the camp were still visible in the port and complexion of the gentleman, his intellectual power culminated: the compression and tension of these stern conditions is a training for the finest and softest arts, and can rarely be compensated in tranquil times, except by some analogous vigor drawn from occupations as hardy as war.

We say that success is constitutional; depends on a plus condition of mind and body, on power of work, on courage; that it is of main efficacy in carrying on the world, and, though rarely found in the right state for an article of commerce, but oftener in the supersaturate or excess, which makes it dangerous and destructive, yet it cannot be spared, and must be had in that form, and absorbents provided to take off its edge.

The affirmative class monopolize the homage of mankind. They originate and execute all the great feats. What a force was coiled up in the skull of Napoleon! Of the sixty thousand men making his army at Eylau, it seems some thirty thousand were thieves and burglars. The men whom, in peaceful communities, we hold if we can, with iron at their legs, in prisons, under the muskets of sentinels, this man dealt with, hand to hand, dragged them to their duty, and won his victories by their bayonets.

This aboriginal might gives a surprising pleasure when it appears under conditions of supreme refinement, as in the proficients in high art. When Michel Angelo was forced to paint the Sistine Chapel in fresco, of which art he knew nothing, he went down into the Pope's gardens behind the Vatican, and with a shovel dug out ochres, red and yellow, mixed them with glue and water with his own hands, and having, after many trials, at last suited himself, climbed his ladders, and painted away, week after week, month after month, the sibyls and prophets. He surpassed his successors in rough vigor, as much as in purity of intellect and refinement. He was not crushed by his one picture left unfinished at last. Michel was wont to draw his figures first in skeleton, then to clothe them with flesh, and lastly to drape them. "Ah!" said a brave painter to me, thinking on these things, "if a man has failed, you will find he has dreamed instead of working. There is no way to success in our art, but to take off your coat, grind paint, and work like a digger on the railroad, all day and every day."

Success goes thus invariably with a certain plus or positive power: an ounce of power must balance an ounce of weight. And, though a man cannot return into his mother's womb, and be born with new amounts of vivacity, yet there are two economies, which are the best succedanea which the case admits. The first is, the stopping off decisively our miscellaneous activity, and concentrating our force on one or a few points; as the gardener, by severe pruning, forces the sap of the tree into one or two vigorous limbs, instead of suffering it to spindle into a sheaf of twigs.

"Enlarge not thy destiny," said the oracle: "endeavor not to do more than is given thee in charge." The one prudence in life is concentration; the one evil is dissipation: and it makes no difference whether our dissipations are coarse or fine; property and its cares, friends, and a social habit, or politics, or music, or feasting. Everything is good which takes away one plaything and delusion more, and drives us home to add one stroke of faithful work. Friends, books, pictures, lower duties, talents, flatteries, hopes, — all are distractions which cause oscillations in our giddy balloon, and make a good poise and a straight course impossible. You must elect your work; you shall take what your brain can, and drop all the rest. Only so, can that amount of vital force accumulate, which can make the step from knowing to doing. No matter how much faculty of idle seeing a man has, the step from knowing to doing is rarely taken. 'Tis a step out of a chalk circle of imbecility into fruitfulness. Many an artist lacking this, lacks all: he sees the masculine Angelo or Cellini with despair. He, too, is up to Nature and the First Cause in his thought. But the spasm to collect and swing his whole being into one act, he has not. The poet Campbell said, that "a man accustomed to work was equal to any achievement he resolved on, and, that, for himself, necessity not inspiration was the prompter of his muse."

Concentration is the secret of strength in politics, in war, in trade, in short, in all management of human affairs. One of the high anecdotes of the world is the reply of Newton to the inquiry, "how he had been able to achieve his discoveries?" — "By always intending my mind." Or if you will have a text from politics, take this from Plutarch: "There was, in the whole city, but one street in which Pericles was ever seen, the street which led to the market-place and the council house. He declined all invitations to banquets, and all gay assemblies and company. During the whole period of his administration, he never dined at the table of a friend." Or if we seek an example from trade, — "I hope," said a good man to Rothyschild, "your children are not too fond of money and business: I am sure you would not wish that." — "I am sure I should wish that: I wish them to give mind, soul, heart, and body to business, — that is the way to be happy. It requires a great deal of boldness and a great deal of caution, to make a great fortune, and when you have got it, it requires ten times as much wit to keep it. If I were to listen to all the projects proposed to me, I should ruin myself very soon. Stick to one business, young man. Stick to your brewery, (he said this to young Buxton,) and you will be the great brewer of London. Be brewer, and banker, and merchant, and manufacturer, and you will soon be in the Gazette."

Many men are knowing, many are apprehensive and tenacious, but they do not rush to a decision. But in our flowing affairs a decision must be made, — the best, if you can; but any is better than none. There are twenty ways of going to a point, and one is the shortest; but set out at once on one. A man who has that presence of mind which can bring to him on the instant all he knows, is worth for action a dozen men who know as much, but can only bring it to light slowly. The good Speaker in the House is not the man who knows the theory of parliamentary tactics, but the man who decides off-hand. The good judge is not he who does hair-splitting justice to every allegation, but who, aiming at substantial justice, rules something intelligible for the guidance of suitors. The good lawyer is not the man who has an eye to every side and angle of contingency, and qualifies all his qualifications, but who throws himself on your part so heartily, that he can get you out of a scrape. Dr. Johnson said, in one of his flowing sentences, "Miserable beyond all names of wretchedness is that unhappy pair, who are doomed to reduce beforehand to the principles of abstract reason all the details of each domestic day. There are cases where little can be said, and much must be done."

The second substitute for temperament is drill, the power of use and routine. The hack is a better roadster than the Arab barb. In chemistry, the galvanic stream, slow, but continuous, is equal in power to the electric spark, and is, in our arts, a better agent. So in human action, against the spasm of energy, we offset the continuity of drill. We spread the same amount of force over much time, instead of condensing it into a moment. 'Tis the same ounce of gold here in a ball, and there in a leaf. At West Point, Col. Buford, the chief engineer, pounded with a hammer on the trunnions of a cannon, until he broke them off. He fired a piece of ordnance some hundred times in swift succession, until it burst. Now which stroke broke the trunnion? Every stroke. Which blast burst the piece? Every blast. "Diligence passe sens," Henry VIII. was wont to say, or, great is drill. John Kemble said, that the worst provincial company of actors would go through a play better than the best amateur company. Basil Hall likes to show that the worst regular troops will beat the best volunteers. Practice is nine tenths. A course of mobs is good practice for orators. All the great speakers were bad speakers at first. Stumping it through England for seven years, made Cobden a consummate debater. Stumping it through New England for twice seven, trained Wendell Phillips. The way to learn German, is, to read the same dozen pages over and over a hundred times, till you know every word and particle in them, and can pronounce and repeat them by heart. No genius can recite a ballad at first reading, so well as mediocrity can at the fifteenth or twentieth readying. The rule for hospitality and Irish 'help,' is, to have the same dinner every day throughout the year. At last, Mrs. O'Shaughnessy learns to cook it to a nicety, the host learns to carve it, and the guests are well served. A humorous friend of mine thinks, that the reason why Nature is so perfect in her art, and gets up such inconceivably fine sunsets, is, that she has learned how, at last, by dint of doing the same thing so very often. Cannot one converse better on a topic on which he has experience, than on one which is new? Men whose opinion is valued on 'Change, are only such as have a special experience, and off that ground their opinion is not valuable. "More are made good by exercitation, than by nature," said Democritus. The friction in nature is so enormous that we cannot spare any power. It is not question to express our thought, to elect our way, but to overcome resistances of the medium and material in everything we do. Hence the use of drill, and the worthlessness of amateurs to cope with practitioners. Six hours every day at the piano, only to give facility of touch; six hours a day at painting, only to give command of the odious materials, oil, ochres, and brushes. The masters say, that they know a master in music, only by seeing the pose of the hands on the keys; — so difficult and vital an act is the command of the instrument. To have learned the use of the tools, by thousands of manipulations; to have learned the arts of reckoning, by endless adding and dividing, is the power of the mechanic and the clerk.

I remarked in England, in confirmation of a frequent experience at home, that, in literary circles, the men of trust and consideration, bookmakers, editors, university deans and professors, bishops, too, were by no means men of the largest literary talent, but usually of a low and ordinary intellectuality, with a sort of mercantile activity and working talent. Indifferent hacks and mediocrities tower, by pushing their forces to a lucrative point, or by working power, over multitudes of superior men, in Old as in New England.

I have not forgotten that there are sublime considerations which limit the value of talent and superficial success. We can easily overpraise the vulgar hero. There are sources on which we have not drawn. I know what I abstain from. I adjourn what I have to say on this topic to the chapters on Culture and Worship. But this force or spirit, being the means relied on by Nature for bringing the work of the day about, — as far as we attach importance to household life, and the prizes of the world, we must respect that. And I hold, that an economy may be applied to it; it is as much a subject of exact law and arithmetic as fluids and gases are; it may be husbanded, or wasted; every man is efficient only as he is a container or vessel of this force, and never was any signal act or achievement in history, but by this expenditure. This is not gold, but the gold-maker; not the fame, but the exploit.

If these forces and this husbandry are within reach of our will, and the laws of them can be read, we infer that all success, and all conceivable benefit for man, is also, first or last, within his reach, and has its own sublime economies by which it may be attained. The world is mathematical, and has no casualty, in all its vast and flowing curve. Success has no more eccentricity, than the gingham and muslin we weave in our mills. I know no more affecting lesson to our busy, plotting New England brains, than to go into one of the factories with which we have lined all the watercourses in the States. A man hardly knows how much he is a machine, until he begins to make telegraph, loom, press, and locomotive, in his own image. But in these, he is forced to leave out his follies and hindrances, so that when we go to the mill, the machine is more moral than we. Let a man dare go to a loom, and see if he be equal to it. Let machine confront machine, and see how they come out. The world-mill is more complex than the calico-mill, and the architect stooped less. In the gingham-mill, a broken thread or a shred spoils the web through a piece of a hundred yards, and is traced back to the girl that wove it, and lessens her wages. The stockholder, on being shown this, rubs his hands with delight. Are you so cunning, Mr. Profitloss, and do you expect to swindle your master and employer, in the web you weave? A day is a more magnificent cloth than any muslin, the mechanism that makes it is infinitely cunninger, and you shall not conceal the sleezy, fraudulent, rotten hours you have slipped into the piece, nor fear that any honest thread, or straighter steel, or more inflexible shaft, will not testify in the web.

Ralph Waldo Emerson Self Reliance

Ralph Waldo Emerson left the ministry to pursue a career in writing and public speaking. Emerson became one of America's best known and best-loved 19th-century figures. More About Emerson

Quick Links


  • Address at Divinity College
  • English Traits
  • Representative Men
  • The American Scholar
  • The Conduct of Life
  • Essays: First Series
  • Essays: Second Series
  • Nature: Addresses/Lectures
  • Lectures / Biographies
  • Letters and Social Aims

Early Emerson Poems

  • Uncollected Prose
  • Government of Children

Emerson Quotes

"Every man has his own courage, and is betrayed because he seeks in himself the courage of other persons." – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”  – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson's Essays

Research the collective works of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Read More Essay

Emerson's most famous work that can truly change your life. Check it out

America's best known and best-loved poems. More Poems

Click Accept to state that you have read our Cookie Policy and give us permission to gather your personal information which might help us improve our service.

Please type in your email to get the full version of the sample you need

Congrats! Sample is in your mail box

  • Testimonials
  • Prices & Discounts
  • Extras & Free Features

You’ve got assignments.

We’ve got writers.

Whenever your essay is going the wrong way - don`t put your hands down. Put your assignment at ours!

Performed by the highly qualified writers, essays at ours always succeed.

Have an extreme deadline? At PoweredEssays.com you can get the craved help with college papers with any urgency.

Complete editing and proofreading services from experts in publishing and writing. Don`t hustle with your paper.

No matter what your sphere is, our experts can prepare your thesis and make it perfect.

Don't struggle with your essay - give us a brief explanation and a topic idea - and get your paper done!

Holders of PhD and writers with enormous writing experience manage any dissertation case within any timetable.

Best pricing offers

Academic writing

Dissertation services

Admission services

Copywriting services

You'll get for FREE

Limitless Amendments


Plagiarism Report

This semester had me over the barrel; Nine college essays I had to write was a nightmare for me. I was stuck in the middle of nowhere. But your website and your writers saved me. You did a great job with my papers. Thanks!

I wonder where you have been all the time when I needed help. I wish I could meet you earlier. Thanks, bro for a cool case study you made for me.

Hi there! I will recommend your service to all my friends. Even my mom’ agreed that it’s better to order essays with you, than write it by myself) Dreams come true!

Before we give a price, we listen to your requirements, to give you the best possible value for your money. Our process takes into account:

  • Project length,
  • Academic level.

We offer free evaluations, so you know what you are getting before you purchase. Moreover, there are a number of discounts available, like first-time purchases, seasonal events, time discounts, and loyalty programs, that make Powered Essays even more affordable.

Don’t take your chances with a cheap essay writing service. Instead, reach out to us today, and take advantage of the Powered Essays edge .

Good writers get good grades, since in many classes, up to 80 percent of the coursework involves writing. But even the best writers do not do their best work under intense pressure. Perhaps the project specifications are completely unrealistic, or maybe different instructors inundate a student with work. 

These are just a few of the overall reasons that partnering with a paper writing service might be a good idea. Here are some specific reasons:

  • Speed : If you have three complex research papers due in three weeks, it is almost impossible to commit equal time to all of them. Most people will neglect at least one. Or, if you have an assignment on a rather obscure topic, you may lack the time to do both the extensive research and your very best writing.
  • Affordability : Until just a few years ago, most custom essay writing services were very expensive, so only working professionals used them. But today, such a service is quite cost effective, so many more people can impress their instructors with quality work that accurately reflects the amount of time you invested in the class.
  • Passion : If you are a STEM major, it’s very hard to get motivated to write an extensive American History paper. But the instructor, who often cares very deeply about the subject, expects that kind of passion. Emotion cannot be invented. You either have it or you don’t, and the writers at Powered Essays have such dedication.
  • Template : It’s much easier to write if a customized example is available, and your academic paper from Powered Essays makes it much easier to successfully complete future assignments. We even go one step further and post prior examples of our work.

In a nutshell, custom essay writing is often the key to balancing a successful academic record with the rest of your commitments and pleasures in life.

Life does not stand still for academic calendars. Many times, things come up which distract from the task at hand or maybe even make it impossible to perform. It’s very sad to see one bad day ruin an entire body of work, and we don’t want that to happen. Furthermore, no one is good at everything. Many people struggle to overcome language or cultural barriers, while other times, instructor and student are simply not on the same page in terms of project expectations. We believe that all diligent students, as opposed to those who happen to be good writers, should be rewarded.

If any of these descriptions sound familiar, you are definitely not alone. In fact, most of our clients at Powered Essays have the same issues. So, our service is specifically designed for situations like these. We only work with students who have laid the groundwork for success. To ensure that your hard work counts for something, we partner with top writers who produce quality:

  • Research papers,
  • Power Point presentations,
  • Term papers,
  • Other academic works.

At Powered Essays, you get a writer who has experience in that particular academic discipline, as well as ongoing customer support. In other words, we pair you with a pro who knows what it takes to get the job done. On the off chance that something goes wrong, we’ll be there to make it right.

Partnering with an academic writing consultant is a big decision. The right one can exceed your expectations in terms of things like the time you save; the wrong one can almost literally ruin your academic career. Since the stakes are so high, it’s important to go with the most reliable online essay writing service.

At Powered Essays, we only work with native English speakers who have studied in native English-speaking countries. Since our writers succeeded in their academic careers, they know what it takes to craft the thoroughly researched, well-written papers. Additionally, most of our writers have many years of experience and well exceed our rigorous quality standards. We do not leave anything to chance, and neither should you.

It’s very important to work with a well-established service, and Powered Essays is one of the founding members of the online paper writing service community. When we make a promise, we stick to it, whether it involves delivery time, number of words, content expectations, or formatting requirements.

While our service is very affordable, it’s not the cheapest available custom essay writing service, and that’s another reason to go with Powered Essays. Our clients do not only get top-quality written work. They also get a world-class researcher and efficient 24/7/365 customer service. On a related note, we don’t make gimmicky promises. We just deliver results .

  • Terms of Use
  • Money Back Guarantee
  • Cookie Policy
  • Privacy Policy
  • Write my essay
  • Custom essay
  • College paper
  • Buy dissertation
  • Thesis writing service
  • Editing/proofreading
  • No Motivation to Write Essay - Order it Right Now from Professionals
  • College essay
  • Daily Deals
  • Brand Outlet
  • Help & Contact
  • Watch List Expand watch list Loading... Sign in to see your user information
  • Recently Viewed
  • Bids/Offers
  • Purchase History
  • Saved Searches
  • Saved Sellers
  • Collect & Spend Learn more
  • Notification
  • Expand Basket Loading... Something went wrong. View basket for details.
  • Back to home page
  • Share | Add to Watch list

Picture Information

Picture 1 of 1, shop with confidence, seller information.

  • yukselt ( 13976 )
  • 99.6% positive Feedback
  • Save seller
  • Contact seller
  • See other items

Is it Nation Time? Contemporary Essays on Black Power and Black Nationalism

Item information.

  • Add to basket
  • Watch this item

Oops! Looks like we're having trouble connecting to our server.

Refresh your browser window to try again.

An error occurred, please try again.

Bottom panel for Description

Item specifics, business seller information.

Returns policy

Sales tax for an item #225049302768, payment details, more to explore:.

Netflix Documentary Series: Cooked

essay on black power

Power Steer

By michael pollan the new york times magazine , march 31, 2002.

Garden City, Kan., missed out on the suburban building boom of the postwar years. What it got instead were sprawling subdivisions of cattle. These feedlots—the nation’s first—began rising on the high plains of western Kansas in the 50’s, and by now developments catering to cows are far more common here than developments catering to people.

You’ll be speeding down one of Finney County’s ramrod roads when the empty, dun-colored prairie suddenly turns black and geometric, an urban grid of steel-fenced rectangles as far as the eye can see—which in Kansas is really far. I say “suddenly,” but in fact a swiftly intensifying odor (an aroma whose Proustian echoes are more bus-station-men’s-room than cow-in-the-country) heralds the approach of a feedlot for more than a mile. Then it’s upon you: Poky Feeders, population 37,000. Cattle pens stretch to the horizon, each one home to 150 animals standing dully or lying around in a grayish mud that it eventually dawns on you isn’t mud at all. The pens line a network of unpaved roads that loop around vast waste lagoons on their way to the feedlot’s beating heart: a chugging, silvery feed mill that soars like an industrial cathedral over this teeming metropolis of meat.

I traveled to Poky early in January with the slightly improbable notion of visiting one particular resident: a young black steer that I’d met in the fall on a ranch in Vale, S.D. The steer, in fact, belonged to me. I’d purchased him as an 8-month-old calf from the Blair brothers, Ed and Rich, for $598. I was paying Poky Feeders $1.60 a day for his room, board and meds and hoped to sell him at a profit after he was fattened.

My interest in the steer was not strictly financial, however, or even gustatory, though I plan to retrieve some steaks from the Kansas packing plant where No. 534, as he is known, has an appointment with the stunner in June. No, my primary interest in this animal was educational. I wanted to find out how a modern, industrial steak is produced in America these days, from insemination to slaughter.

Eating meat, something I have always enjoyed doing, has become problematic in recent years. Though beef consumption spiked upward during the flush 90’s, the longer-term trend is down, and many people will tell you they no longer eat the stuff. Inevitably they’ll bring up mad-cow disease (and the accompanying revelation that industrial agriculture has transformed these ruminants into carnivores—indeed, into cannibals). They might mention their concerns about E. coli contamination or antibiotics in the feed. Then there are the many environmental problems, like groundwater pollution, associated with “Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations.” (The word “farm” no longer applies.) And of course there are questions of animal welfare. How are we treating the animals we eat while they’re alive, and then how humanely are we “dispatching” them, to borrow an industry euphemism?

Meat-eating has always been a messy business, shadowed by the shame of killing and, since Upton Sinclair’s writing of “The Jungle,” by questions about what we’re really eating when we eat meat. Forgetting, or willed ignorance, is the preferred strategy of many beef eaters, a strategy abetted by the industry. (What grocery-store item is more silent about its origins than a shrink-wrapped steak?) Yet I recently began to feel that ignorance was no longer tenable. If I was going to continue to eat red meat, then I owed it to myself, as well as to the animals, to take more responsibility for the invisible but crucial transaction between ourselves and the animals we eat. I’d try to own it, in other words.

So this is the biography of my cow.

The Blair brothers ranch occupies 11,500 acres of short-grass prairie a few miles outside Sturgis, S.D., directly in the shadow of Bear Butte. In November, when I visited, the turf forms a luxuriant pelt of grass oscillating yellow and gold in the constant wind and sprinkled with perambulating black dots: Angus cows and calves grazing.

Ed and Rich Blair run what’s called a “cow-calf” operation, the first stage of beef production, and the stage least changed by the modern industrialization of meat. While the pork and chicken industries have consolidated the entire life cycles of those animals under a single roof, beef cattle are still born on thousands of independently owned ranches. Although four giant meatpacking companies (Tyson’s subsidiary IBP, Monfort, Excel and National) now slaughter and market more than 80 percent of the beef cattle born in this country, that concentration represents the narrow end of a funnel that starts out as wide as the great plains.

The Blairs have been in the cattle business for four generations. Although there are new wrinkles to the process—artificial insemination to improve genetics, for example—producing beef calves goes pretty much as it always has, just faster. Calving season begins in late winter, a succession of subzero nights spent yanking breeched babies out of their bellowing mothers. In April comes the first spring roundup to work the newborn calves (branding, vaccination, castration); then more roundups in early summer to inseminate the cows ($15 mail-order straws of elite bull semen have pretty much put the resident stud out of work); and weaning in the fall. If all goes well, your herd of 850 cattle has increased to 1,600 by the end of the year.

My steer spent his first six months in these lush pastures alongside his mother, No. 9,534. His father was a registered Angus named GAR Precision 1,680, a bull distinguished by the size and marbling of his offspring’s rib-eye steaks. Born last March 13 in a birthing shed across the road, No. 534 was turned out on pasture with his mother as soon as the 80-pound calf stood up and began nursing. After a few weeks, the calf began supplementing his mother’s milk by nibbling on a salad bar of mostly native grasses: western wheatgrass, little bluestem, green needlegrass.

Apart from the trauma of the April day when he was branded and castrated, you could easily imagine No. 534 looking back on those six months grazing at his mother’s side as the good old days—if, that is, cows do look back. (“They do not know what is meant by yesterday or today,” Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, with a note of envy, of grazing cattle, “fettered to the moment and its pleasure or displeasure, and thus neither melancholy or bored.” Nietzsche clearly had never seen a feedlot.) It may be foolish to presume to know what a cow experiences, yet we can say that a cow grazing on grass is at least doing what he has been splendidly molded by evolution to do. Which isn’t a bad definition of animal happiness. Eating grass, however, is something that, after October, my steer would never do again.

Although the modern cattle industry all but ignores it, the reciprocal relationship between cows and grass is one of nature’s underappreciated wonders. For the grasses, the cow maintains their habitat by preventing trees and shrubs from gaining a foothold; the animal also spreads grass seed, planting it with its hoofs and fertilizing it. In exchange for these services, the grasses offer the ruminants a plentiful, exclusive meal. For cows, sheep and other grazers have the unique ability to convert grass—which single-stomached creatures like us can’t digest—into high-quality protein. They can do this because they possess a rumen, a 45-gallon fermentation tank in which a resident population of bacteria turns grass into metabolically useful organic acids and protein.

This is an excellent system for all concerned: for the grasses, for the animals and for us. What’s more, growing meat on grass can make superb ecological sense: so long as the rancher practices rotational grazing, it is a sustainable, solar-powered system for producing food on land too arid or hilly to grow anything else.

So if this system is so ideal, why is it that my cow hasn’t tasted a blade of grass since October? Speed, in a word. Cows raised on grass simply take longer to reach slaughter weight than cows raised on a richer diet, and the modern meat industry has devoted itself to shortening a beef calf’s allotted time on earth. “In my grandfather’s day, steers were 4 or 5 years old at slaughter,” explained Rich Blair, who, at 45, is the younger of the brothers by four years. “In the 50’s, when my father was ranching, it was 2 or 3. Now we get there at 14 to 16 months.” Fast food indeed. What gets a beef calf from 80 to 1,200 pounds in 14 months are enormous quantities of corn, protein supplements—and drugs, including growth hormones. These “efficiencies,” all of which come at a price, have transformed raising cattle into a high-volume, low-margin business. Not everybody is convinced that this is progress. “Hell,” Ed Blair told me, “my dad made more money on 250 head than we do on 850.”

Weaning marks the fateful moment when the natural, evolutionary logic represented by a ruminant grazing on grass bumps up against the industrial logic that, with stunning speed, turns that animal into a box of beef. This industrial logic is rational and even irresistible—after all, it has succeeded in transforming beef from a luxury item into everyday fare for millions of people. And yet the further you follow it, the more likely you are to wonder if that rational logic might not also be completely insane.

In early October, a few weeks before I met him, No. 534 was weaned from his mother. Weaning is perhaps the most traumatic time on a ranch for animals and ranchers alike; cows separated from their calves will mope and bellow for days, and the calves themselves, stressed by the change in circumstance and diet, are prone to get sick.

On many ranches, weaned calves go directly from the pasture to the sale barn, where they’re sold at auction, by the pound, to feedlots. The Blairs prefer to own their steers straight through to slaughter and to keep them on the ranch for a couple of months of “backgrounding” before sending them on the 500-mile trip to Poky Feeders. Think of backgrounding as prep school for feedlot life: the animals are confined in a pen, “bunk broken”—taught to eat from a trough—and gradually accustomed to eating a new, unnatural diet of grain. (Grazing cows encounter only tiny amounts of grain, in the form of grass seeds.)

It was in the backgrounding pen that I first met No. 534 on an unseasonably warm afternoon in November. I’d told the Blairs I wanted to follow one of their steers through the life cycle; Ed, 49, suggested I might as well buy a steer, as a way to really understand the daunting economics of modern ranching. Ed and Rich told me what to look for: a broad, straight back and thick hindquarters. Basically, you want a strong frame on which to hang a lot of meat. I was also looking for a memorable face in this Black Angus sea, one that would stand out in the feedlot crowd. Almost as soon as I started surveying the 90 or so steers in the pen, No. 534 moseyed up to the railing and made eye contact. He had a wide, stout frame and was brockle-faced—he had three distinctive white blazes. If not for those markings, Ed said, No. 534 might have been spared castration and sold as a bull; he was that good-looking. But the white blazes indicate the presence of Hereford blood, rendering him ineligible for life as an Angus stud. Tough break.

Rich said he would calculate the total amount I owed the next time No. 534 got weighed but that the price would be $98 a hundredweight for an animal of this quality. He would then bill me for all expenses (feed, shots, et cetera) and, beginning in January, start passing on the weekly “hotel charges” from Poky Feeders. In June we’d find out from the packing plant how well my investment had panned out: I would receive a payment for No. 534 based on his carcass weight, plus a premium if he earned a U.S.D.A. grade of choice or prime. “And if you’re worried about the cattle market,” Rich said jokingly, referring to its post-Sept. 11 slide, “I can sell you an option too.” Option insurance has become increasingly popular among cattlemen in the wake of mad-cow and foot-and-mouth disease.

Rich handles the marketing end of the business out of an office in Sturgis, where he also trades commodities. In fact you’d never guess from Rich’s unlined, indoorsy face and golfish attire that he was a rancher. Ed, by contrast, spends his days on the ranch and better looks the part, with his well-creased visage, crinkly cowboy eyes and ever-present plug of tobacco. His cap carries the same prairie-flat slogan I’d spotted on the ranch’s roadside sign: “Beef: It’s What’s for Dinner.”

My second morning on the ranch, I helped Troy Hadrick, Ed’s son-in-law and a ranch hand, feed the steers in the backgrounding pen. A thickly muscled post of a man, Hadrick is 25 and wears a tall black cowboy hat perpetually crowned by a pair of mirrored Oakley sunglasses. He studied animal science at South Dakota State and is up on the latest university thinking on cattle nutrition, reproduction and medicine. Hadrick seems to relish everything to do with ranching, from calving to wielding the artificial-insemination syringe.

Hadrick and I squeezed into the heated cab of a huge swivel-hipped tractor hooked up to a feed mixer: basically, a dump truck with a giant screw through the middle to blend ingredients. First stop was a hopper filled with Rumensin, a powerful antibiotic that No. 534 will consume with his feed every day for the rest of his life. Calves have no need of regular medication while on grass, but as soon as they’re placed in the backgrounding pen, they’re apt to get sick. Why? The stress of weaning is a factor, but the main culprit is the feed. The shift to a “hot ration” of grain can so disturb the cow’s digestive process—its rumen, in particular—that it can kill the animal if not managed carefully and accompanied by antibiotics.

After we’d scooped the ingredients into the hopper and turned on the mixer, Hadrick deftly sidled the tractor alongside the pen and flipped a switch to release a dusty tan stream of feed in a long, even line. No. 534 was one of the first animals to belly up to the rail for breakfast. He was heftier than his pen mates and, I decided, sparkier too. That morning, Hadrick and I gave each calf six pounds of corn mixed with seven pounds of ground alfalfa hay and a quarter-pound of Rumensin. Soon after my visit, this ration would be cranked up to 14 pounds of corn and 6 pounds of hay—and added two and a half pounds every day to No. 534.

While I was on the ranch, I didn’t talk to No. 534, pet him or otherwise try to form a connection. I also decided not to give him a name, even though my son proposed a pretty good one after seeing a snapshot. (“Night.”) My intention, after all, is to send this animal to slaughter and then eat some of him. No. 534 is not a pet, and I certainly don’t want to end up with an ox in my backyard because I suddenly got sentimental.

As fall turned into winter, Hadrick sent me regular e-mail messages apprising me of my steer’s progress. On Nov. 13 he weighed 650 pounds; by Christmas he was up to 798, making him the seventh-heaviest steer in his pen, an achievement in which I, idiotically, took a measure of pride. Between Nov. 13 and Jan. 4, the day he boarded the truck for Kansas, No. 534 put away 706 pounds of corn and 336 pounds of alfalfa hay, bringing his total living expenses for that period to $61.13. I was into this deal now for $659.

Hadrick’s e-mail updates grew chattier as time went on, cracking a window on the rancher’s life and outlook. I was especially struck by his relationship to the animals, how it manages to be at once intimate and unsentimental. One day Hadrick is tenderly nursing a newborn at 3 a.m., the next he’s “having a big prairie oyster feed” after castrating a pen of bull calves.

Hadrick wrote empathetically about weaning (“It’s like packing up and leaving the house when you are 18 and knowing you will never see your parents again”) and with restrained indignation about “animal activists and city people” who don’t understand the first thing about a rancher’s relationship to his cattle. Which, as Hadrick put it, is simply this: “If we don’t take care of these animals, they won’t take care of us.”

“Everyone hears about the bad stuff,” Hadrick wrote, “but they don’t ever see you give C.P.R. to a newborn calf that was born backward or bringing them into your house and trying to warm them up on your kitchen floor because they were born on a minus-20-degree night. Those are the kinds of things ranchers will do for their livestock. They take precedence over most everything in your life. Sorry for the sermon.”

To travel from the ranch to the feedlot, as No. 534 and I both did (in separate vehicles) the first week in January, feels a lot like going from the country to the big city. Indeed, a cattle feedlot is a kind of city, populated by as many as 100,000 animals. It is very much a premodern city, however—crowded, filthy and stinking, with open sewers, unpaved roads and choking air.

The urbanization of the world’s livestock is a fairly recent historical development, so it makes a certain sense that cow towns like Poky Feeders would recall human cities several centuries ago. As in 14th-century London, the metropolitan digestion remains vividly on display: the foodstuffs coming in, the waste streaming out. Similarly, there is the crowding together of recent arrivals from who knows where, combined with a lack of modern sanitation. This combination has always been a recipe for disease; the only reason contemporary animal cities aren’t as plague-ridden as their medieval counterparts is a single historical anomaly: the modern antibiotic.

I spent the better part of a day walking around Poky Feeders, trying to understand how its various parts fit together. In any city, it’s easy to lose track of nature—of the connections between various species and the land on which everything ultimately depends. The feedlot’s ecosystem, I could see, revolves around corn. But its food chain doesn’t end there, because the corn itself grows somewhere else, where it is implicated in a whole other set of ecological relationships. Growing the vast quantities of corn used to feed livestock in this country takes vast quantities of chemical fertilizer, which in turn takes vast quantities of oil—1.2 gallons for every bushel. So the modern feedlot is really a city floating on a sea of oil.

I started my tour at the feed mill, the yard’s thundering hub, where three meals a day for 37,000 animals are designed and mixed by computer. A million pounds of feed passes through the mill each day. Every hour of every day, a tractor-trailer pulls up to disgorge another 25 tons of corn. Around the other side of the mill, tanker trucks back up to silo-shaped tanks, into which they pump thousands of gallons of liquefied fat and protein supplement. In a shed attached to the mill sit vats of liquid vitamins and synthetic estrogen; next to these are pallets stacked with 50-pound sacks of Rumensin and tylosin, another antibiotic. Along with alfalfa hay and corn silage for roughage, all these ingredients are blended and then piped into the dump trucks that keep Poky’s eight and a half miles of trough filled.

The feed mill’s great din is made by two giant steel rollers turning against each other 12 hours a day, crushing steamed corn kernels into flakes. This was the only feed ingredient I tasted, and it wasn’t half bad; not as crisp as Kellogg’s, but with a cornier flavor. I passed, however, on the protein supplement, a sticky brown goop consisting of molasses and urea.

Corn is a mainstay of livestock diets because there is no other feed quite as cheap or plentiful: thanks to federal subsidies and ever-growing surpluses, the price of corn ($2.25 a bushel) is 50 cents less than the cost of growing it. The rise of the modern factory farm is a direct result of these surpluses, which soared in the years following World War II, when petrochemical fertilizers came into widespread use. Ever since, the U.S.D.A.’s policy has been to help farmers dispose of surplus corn by passing as much of it as possible through the digestive tracts of food animals, converting it into protein. Compared with grass or hay, corn is a compact and portable foodstuff, making it possible to feed tens of thousands of animals on small plots of land. Without cheap corn, the modern urbanization of livestock would probably never have occurred.

We have come to think of “cornfed” as some kind of old-fashioned virtue; we shouldn’t. Granted, a cornfed cow develops well-marbled flesh, giving it a taste and texture American consumers have learned to like. Yet this meat is demonstrably less healthy to eat, since it contains more saturated fat. A recent study in The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the meat of grass-fed livestock not only had substantially less fat than grain-fed meat but that the type of fats found in grass-fed meat were much healthier. (Grass-fed meat has more omega 3 fatty acids and fewer omega 6, which is believed to promote heart disease; it also contains betacarotine and CLA, another “good” fat.) A growing body of research suggests that many of the health problems associated with eating beef are really problems with cornfed beef. In the same way ruminants have not evolved to eat grain, humans may not be well adapted to eating grain-fed animals. Yet the U.S.D.A.’s grading system continues to reward marbling—that is, intermuscular fat—and thus the feeding of corn to cows.

The economic logic behind corn is unassailable, and on a factory farm, there is no other kind. Calories are calories, and corn is the cheapest, most convenient source of calories. Of course the identical industrial logic—protein is protein—led to the feeding of rendered cow parts back to cows, a practice the F.D.A. banned in 1997 after scientists realized it was spreading mad-cow disease.

Make that mostly banned. The F.D.A.’s rules against feeding ruminant protein to ruminants make exceptions for “blood products” (even though they contain protein) and fat. Indeed, my steer has probably dined on beef tallow recycled from the very slaughterhouse he’s heading to in June. “Fat is fat,” the feedlot manager shrugged when I raised an eyebrow.

F.D.A. rules still permit feedlots to feed nonruminant animal protein to cows. (Feather meal is an accepted cattle feed, as are pig and fish protein and chicken manure.) Some public-health advocates worry that since the bovine meat and bone meal that cows used to eat is now being fed to chickens, pigs and fish, infectious prions could find their way back into cattle when they eat the protein of the animals that have been eating them. To close this biological loophole, the F.D.A. is now considering tightening its feed rules.

Until mad-cow disease, remarkably few people in the cattle business, let alone the general public, comprehended the strange semicircular food chain that industrial agriculture had devised for cattle (and, in turn, for us). When I mentioned to Rich Blair that I’d been surprised to learn that cows were eating cows, he said, “To tell the truth, it was kind of a shock to me too.” Yet even today, ranchers don’t ask many questions about feedlot menus. Not that the answers are so easy to come by. When I asked Poky’s feedlot manager what exactly was in the protein supplement, he couldn’t say. “When we buy supplement, the supplier says it’s 40 percent protein, but they don’t specify beyond that.” When I called the supplier, it wouldn’t divulge all its “proprietary ingredients” but promised that animal parts weren’t among them. Protein is pretty much still protein.

Compared with ground-up cow bones, corn seems positively wholesome. Yet it wreaks considerable havoc on bovine digestion. During my day at Poky, I spent an hour or two driving around the yard with Dr. Mel Metzen, the staff veterinarian. Metzen, a 1997 graduate of Kansas State’s vet school, oversees a team of eight cowboys who spend their days riding the yard, spotting sick cows and bringing them in for treatment. A great many of their health problems can be traced to their diet. “They’re made to eat forage,” Metzen said, “and we’re making them eat grain.”

Perhaps the most serious thing that can go wrong with a ruminant on corn is feedlot bloat. The rumen is always producing copious amounts of gas, which is normally expelled by belching during rumination. But when the diet contains too much starch and too little roughage, rumination all but stops, and a layer of foamy slime that can trap gas forms in the rumen. The rumen inflates like a balloon, pressing against the animal’s lungs. Unless action is promptly taken to relieve the pressure (usually by forcing a hose down the animal’s esophagus), the cow suffocates.

A corn diet can also give a cow acidosis. Unlike that in our own highly acidic stomachs, the normal pH of a rumen is neutral. Corn makes it unnaturally acidic, however, causing a kind of bovine heartburn, which in some cases can kill the animal but usually just makes it sick. Acidotic animals go off their feed, pant and salivate excessively, paw at their bellies and eat dirt. The condition can lead to diarrhea, ulcers, bloat, liver disease and a general weakening of the immune system that leaves the animal vulnerable to everything from pneumonia to feedlot polio.

Cows rarely live on feedlot diets for more than six months, which might be about as much as their digestive systems can tolerate. “I don’t know how long you could feed this ration before you’d see problems,” Metzen said; another vet said that a sustained feedlot diet would eventually “blow out their livers” and kill them. As the acids eat away at the rumen wall, bacteria enter the bloodstream and collect in the liver. More than 13 percent of feedlot cattle are found at slaughter to have abscessed livers.

What keeps a feedlot animal healthy—or healthy enough—are antibiotics. Rumensin inhibits gas production in the rumen, helping to prevent bloat; tylosin reduces the incidence of liver infection. Most of the antibiotics sold in America end up in animal feed—a practice that, it is now generally acknowledged, leads directly to the evolution of new antibiotic-resistant “superbugs.” In the debate over the use of antibiotics in agriculture, a distinction is usually made between clinical and nonclinical uses. Public-health advocates don’t object to treating sick animals with antibiotics; they just don’t want to see the drugs lose their efficacy because factory farms are feeding them to healthy animals to promote growth. But the use of antibiotics in feedlot cattle confounds this distinction. Here the drugs are plainly being used to treat sick animals, yet the animals probably wouldn’t be sick if not for what we feed them.

I asked Metzen what would happen if antibiotics were banned from cattle feed. “We just couldn’t feed them as hard,” he said. “Or we’d have a higher death loss.” (Less than 3 percent of cattle die on the feedlot.) The price of beef would rise, he said, since the whole system would have to slow down.

“Hell, if you gave them lots of grass and space,” he concluded dryly, “I wouldn’t have a job.”

Before heading over to Pen 43 for my reunion with No. 534, I stopped by the shed where recent arrivals receive their hormone implants. The calves are funneled into a chute, herded along by a ranch hand wielding an electric prod, then clutched in a restrainer just long enough for another hand to inject a slow-release pellet of Revlar, a synthetic estrogen, in the back of the ear. The Blairs’ pen had not yet been implanted, and I was still struggling with the decision of whether to forgo what is virtually a universal practice in the cattle industry in the United States. (It has been banned in the European Union.)

American regulators permit hormone implants on the grounds that no risk to human health has been proved, even though measurable hormone residues do turn up in the meat we eat. These contribute to the buildup of estrogenic compounds in the environment, which some scientists believe may explain falling sperm counts and premature maturation in girls. Recent studies have also found elevated levels of synthetic growth hormones in feedlot wastes; these persistent chemicals eventually wind up in the waterways downstream of feedlots, where scientists have found fish exhibiting abnormal sex characteristics.

The F.D.A. is opening an inquiry into the problem, but for now, implanting hormones in beef cattle is legal and financially irresistible: an implant costs $1.50 and adds between 40 and 50 pounds to the weight of a steer at slaughter, for a return of at least $25. That could easily make the difference between profit and loss on my investment in No. 534. Thinking like a parent, I like the idea of feeding my son hamburgers free of synthetic hormones. But thinking like a cattleman, there was really no decision to make.

I asked Rich Blair what he thought. “I’d love to give up hormones,” he said. “If the consumer said, We don’t want hormones, we’d stop in a second. The cattle could get along better without them. But the market signal’s not there, and as long as my competitor’s doing it, I’ve got to do it, too.”

Around lunch time, Metzen and I finally arrived at No. 534’s pen. My first impression was that my steer had landed himself a decent piece of real estate. The pen is far enough from the feed mill to be fairly quiet, and it has a water view—of what I initially thought was a reservoir, until I noticed the brown scum. The pen itself is surprisingly spacious, slightly bigger than a basketball court, with a concrete feed bunk out front and a freshwater trough in the back. I climbed over the railing and joined the 90 steers, which, en masse, retreated a few steps, then paused.

I had on the same carrot-colored sweater I’d worn to the ranch in South Dakota, hoping to jog my steer’s memory. Way off in the back, I spotted him—those three white blazes. As I gingerly stepped toward him, the quietly shuffling mass of black cowhide between us parted, and there No. 534 and I stood, staring dumbly at each other. Glint of recognition? None whatsoever. I told myself not to take it personally. No. 534 had been bred for his marbling, after all, not his intellect.

I don’t know enough about the emotional life of cows to say with any confidence if No. 534 was miserable, bored or melancholy, but I would not say he looked happy. I noticed that his eyes looked a little bloodshot. Some animals are irritated by the fecal dust that floats in the feedlot air; maybe that explained the sullen gaze with which he fixed me. Unhappy or not, though, No. 534 had clearly been eating well. My animal had put on a couple hundred pounds since we’d last met, and he looked it: thicker across the shoulders and round as a barrel through the middle. He carried himself more like a steer now than a calf, even though he was still less than a year old. Metzen complimented me on his size and conformation. “That’s a handsome looking beef you’ve got there.” (Aw, shucks.)

Staring at No. 534, I could picture the white lines of the butcher’s chart dissecting his black hide: rump roast, flank steak, standing rib, brisket. One way of looking at No. 534—the industrial way—was as an efficient machine for turning feed corn into beef. Every day between now and his slaughter date in June, No. 534 will convert 32 pounds of feed (25 of them corn) into another three and a half pounds of flesh. Poky is indeed a factory, transforming cheap raw materials into a less-cheap finished product, as fast as bovinely possible.

Yet the factory metaphor obscures as much as it reveals about the creature that stood before me. For this steer was not a machine in a factory but an animal in a web of relationships that link him to certain other animals, plants and microbes, as well as to the earth. And one of those other animals is us. The unnaturally rich diet of corn that has compromised No. 534’s health is fattening his flesh in a way that in turn may compromise the health of the humans who will eat him. The antibiotics he’s consuming with his corn were at that very moment selecting, in his gut and wherever else in the environment they wind up, for bacteria that could someday infect us and resist the drugs we depend on. We inhabit the same microbial ecosystem as the animals we eat, and whatever happens to it also happens to us.

I thought about the deep pile of manure that No. 534 and I were standing in. We don’t know much about the hormones in it—where they will end up or what they might do once they get there—but we do know something about the bacteria. One particularly lethal bug most probably resided in the manure beneath my feet. Escherichia coli 0157 is a relatively new strain of a common intestinal bacteria (it was first isolated in the 1980’s) that is common in feedlot cattle, more than half of whom carry it in their guts. Ingesting as few as 10 of these microbes can cause a fatal infection.

Most of the microbes that reside in the gut of a cow and find their way into our food get killed off by the acids in our stomachs, since they originally adapted to live in a neutral-pH environment. But the digestive tract of the modern feedlot cow is closer in acidity to our own, and in this new, manmade environment acid-resistant strains of E. coli have developed that can survive our stomach acids—and go on to kill us. By acidifying a cow’s gut with corn, we have broken down one of our food chain’s barriers to infection. Yet this process can be reversed: James Russell, a U.S.D.A. microbiologist, has discovered that switching a cow’s diet from corn to hay in the final days before slaughter reduces the population of E. coli 0157 in its manure by as much as 70 percent. Such a change, however, is considered wildly impractical by the cattle industry.

So much comes back to corn, this cheap feed that turns out in so many ways to be not cheap at all. While I stood in No. 534’s pen, a dump truck pulled up alongside the feed bunk and released a golden stream of feed. The animals stepped up to the bunk for their lunch. The $1.60 a day I’m paying for three giant meals is a bargain only by the narrowest of calculations. It doesn’t take into account, for example, the cost to the public health of antibiotic resistance or food poisoning by E. coli or all the environmental costs associated with industrial corn.

For if you follow the corn from this bunk back to the fields where it grows, you will find an 80-million-acre monoculture that consumes more chemical herbicide and fertilizer than any other crop. Keep going and you can trace the nitrogen runoff from that crop all the way down the Mississippi into the Gulf of Mexico, where it has created (if that is the right word) a 12,000-square-mile “dead zone.”

But you can go farther still, and follow the fertilizer needed to grow that corn all the way to the oil fields of the Persian Gulf. No. 534 started life as part of a food chain that derived all its energy from the sun; now that corn constitutes such an important link in his food chain, he is the product of an industrial system powered by fossil fuel. (And in turn, defended by the military—another uncounted cost of “cheap” food.) I asked David Pimentel, a Cornell ecologist who specializes in agriculture and energy, if it might be possible to calculate precisely how much oil it will take to grow my steer to slaughter weight. Assuming No. 534 continues to eat 25 pounds of corn a day and reaches a weight of 1,250 pounds, he will have consumed in his lifetime roughly 284 gallons of oil. We have succeeded in industrializing the beef calf, transforming what was once a solar-powered ruminant into the very last thing we need: another fossil-fuel machine.

Sometime in June, No. 534 will be ready for slaughter. Though only 14 months old, my steer will weigh more than 1,200 pounds and will move with the lumbering deliberateness of the obese. One morning, a cattle trailer from the National Beef plant in Liberal, Kan., will pull in to Poky Feeders, drop a ramp and load No. 534 along with 35 of his pen mates.

The 100-mile trip south to Liberal is a straight shot on Route 83, a two-lane highway on which most of the traffic consists of speeding tractor-trailers carrying either cattle or corn. The National Beef plant is a sprawling gray-and-white complex in a neighborhood of trailer homes and tiny houses a notch up from shanty. These are, presumably, the homes of the Mexican and Asian immigrants who make up a large portion of the plant’s work force. The meat business has made southwestern Kansas an unexpectedly diverse corner of the country.

A few hours after their arrival in the holding pens outside the factory, a plant worker will open a gate and herd No. 534 and his pen mates into an alley that makes a couple of turns before narrowing down to a single-file chute. The chute becomes a ramp that leads the animals up to a second-story platform and then disappears through a blue door.

That door is as close to the kill floor as the plant managers were prepared to let me go. I could see whatever I wanted to farther on—the cold room where carcasses are graded, the food-safety lab, the fabrication room where the carcasses are broken down into cuts—on the condition that I didn’t take pictures or talk to employees. But the stunning, bleeding and evisceration process was off limits to a journalist, even a cattleman-journalist like myself.

What I know about what happens on the far side of the blue door comes mostly from Temple Grandin, who has been on the other side and, in fact, helped to design it. Grandin, an assistant professor of animal science at Colorado State, is one of the most influential people in the United States cattle industry. She has devoted herself to making cattle slaughter less stressful and therefore more humane by designing an ingenious series of cattle restraints, chutes, ramps and stunning systems. Grandin is autistic, a condition she says has allowed her to see the world from the cow’s point of view. The industry has embraced Grandin’s work because animals under stress are not only more difficult to handle but also less valuable: panicked cows produce a surge of adrenaline that turns their meat dark and unappetizing. “Dark cutters,” as they’re called, sell at a deep discount.

Grandin designed the double-rail conveyor system in use at the National Beef plant; she has also audited the plant’s killing process for McDonald’s. Stories about cattle “waking up” after stunning only to be skinned alive prompted McDonald’s to audit its suppliers in a program that is credited with substantial improvements since its inception in 1999. Grandin says that in cattle slaughter “there is the pre-McDonald’s era and the post-McDonald’s era—it’s night and day.”

Grandin recently described to me what will happen to No. 534 after he passes through the blue door. “The animal goes into the chute single file,” she began. “The sides are high enough so all he sees is the butt of the animal in front of him. As he walks through the chute, he passes over a metal bar, with his feet on either side. While he’s straddling the bar, the ramp begins to decline at a 25-degree angle, and before he knows it, his feet are off the ground and he’s being carried along on a conveyor belt. We put in a false floor so he can’t look down and see he’s off the ground. That would panic him.”

Listening to Grandin’s rather clinical account, I couldn’t help wondering what No. 534 would be feeling as he approached his end. Would he have any inkling—a scent of blood, a sound of terror from up the line—that this was no ordinary day?

Grandin anticipated my question: “Does the animal know it’s going to get slaughtered? I used to wonder that. So I watched them, going into the squeeze chute on the feedlot, getting their shots and going up the ramp at a slaughter plant. No difference. If they knew they were going to die, you’d see much more agitated behavior.

“Anyway, the conveyor is moving along at roughly the speed of a moving sidewalk. On a catwalk above stands the stunner. The stunner has a pneumatic-powered ‘gun’ that fires a steel bolt about seven inches long and the diameter of a fat pencil. He leans over and puts it smack in the middle of the forehead. When it’s done correctly, it will kill the animal on the first shot.”

For a plant to pass a McDonald’s audit, the stunner needs to render animals “insensible” on the first shot 95 percent of the time. A second shot is allowed, but should that one fail, the plant flunks. At the line speeds at which meatpacking plants in the United States operate—390 animals are slaughtered every hour at National, which is not unusual—mistakes would seem inevitable, but Grandin insists that only rarely does the process break down.

“After the animal is shot while he’s riding along, a worker wraps a chain around his foot and hooks it to an overhead trolley. Hanging upside down by one leg, he’s carried by the trolley into the bleeding area, where the bleeder cuts his throat. Animal rights people say they’re cutting live animals, but that’s because there’s a lot of reflex kicking.” This is one of the reasons a job at a slaughter plant is the most dangerous in America. “What I look for is, Is the head dead? It should be flopping like a rag, with the tongue hanging out. He’d better not be trying to hold it up—then you’ve got a live one on the rail.” Just in case, Grandin said, “they have another hand stunner in the bleed area.”

Much of what happens next—the de-hiding of the animal, the tying off of its rectum before evisceration—is designed to keep the animal’s feces from coming into contact with its meat. This is by no means easy to do, not when the animals enter the kill floor smeared with manure and 390 of them are eviscerated every hour. (Partly for this reason, European plants operate at much slower line speeds.) But since that manure is apt to contain lethal pathogens like E. coli 0157, and since the process of grinding together hamburger from hundreds of different carcasses can easily spread those pathogens across millions of burgers, packing plants now spend millions on “food safety”—which is to say, on the problem of manure in meat.

Most of these efforts are reactive: it’s accepted that the animals will enter the kill floor caked with feedlot manure that has been rendered lethal by the feedlot diet. Rather than try to alter that diet or keep the animals from living in their waste or slow the line speed—all changes regarded as impractical—the industry focuses on disinfecting the manure that will inevitably find its way into the meat. This is the purpose of irradiation (which the industry prefers to call “cold pasteurization”). It is also the reason that carcasses pass through a hot steam cabinet and get sprayed with an antimicrobial solution before being hung in the cooler at the National Beef plant.

It wasn’t until after the carcasses emerged from the cooler, 36 hours later, that I was allowed to catch up with them, in the grading room. I entered a huge arctic space resembling a monstrous dry cleaner’s, with a seemingly endless overhead track conveying thousands of red-and-white carcasses. I quickly learned that you had to move smartly through this room or else be tackled by a 350-pound side of beef. The carcasses felt cool to the touch, no longer animals but meat.

Two by two, the sides of beef traveled swiftly down the rails, six pairs every minute, to a station where two workers—one wielding a small power saw, the other a long knife—made a single six-inch cut between the 12th and 13th ribs, opening a window on the meat inside. The carcasses continued on to another station, where a U.S.D.A. inspector holding a round blue stamp glanced at the exposed rib eye and stamped the carcass’s creamy white fat once, twice or—very rarely—three times: select, choice, prime.

For the Blair brothers, and for me, this is the moment of truth, for that stamp will determine exactly how much the packing plant will pay for each animal and whether the 14 months of effort and expense will yield a profit.

Unless the cattle market collapses between now and June (always a worry these days), I stand to make a modest profit on No. 534. In February, the feedlot took a sonogram of his rib eye and ran the data through a computer program. The projections are encouraging: a live slaughter weight of 1,250, a carcass weight of 787 pounds and a grade at the upper end of choice, making him eligible to be sold at a premium as Certified Angus Beef. Based on the June futures price, No. 534 should be worth $944. (Should he grade prime, that would add another $75.)

I paid $598 for No. 534 in November; his living expenses since then come to $61 on the ranch and $258 for 160 days at the feedlot (including implant), for a total investment of $917, leaving a profit of $27. It’s a razor-thin margin, and it could easily vanish should the price of corn rise or No. 534 fail to make the predicted weight or grade—say, if he gets sick and goes off his feed. Without the corn, without the antibiotics, without the hormone implant, my brief career as a cattleman would end in failure.

The Blairs and I are doing better than most. According to Cattle-Fax, a market-research firm, the return on an animal coming out of a feedlot has averaged just $3 per head over the last 20 years.

“Some pens you make money, some pens you lose,” Rich Blair said when I called to commiserate. “You try to average it out over time, limit the losses and hopefully make a little profit.” He reminded me that a lot of ranchers are in the business “for emotional reasons—you can’t be in it just for the money.”

Now you tell me.

The manager of the packing plant has offered to pull a box of steaks from No. 534 before his carcass disappears into the trackless stream of commodity beef fanning out to America’s supermarkets and restaurants this June. From what I can see, the Blair brothers, with the help of Poky Feeders, are producing meat as good as any you can find in an American supermarket. And yet there’s no reason to think this steak will taste any different from the other high-end industrial meat I’ve ever eaten.

While waiting for my box of meat to arrive from Kansas, I’ve explored some alternatives to the industrial product. Nowadays you can find hormone- and antibiotic-free beef as well as organic beef, fed only grain grown without chemicals. This meat, which is often quite good, is typically produced using more grass and less grain (and so makes for healthier animals). Yet it doesn’t fundamentally challenge the corn-feedlot system, and I’m not sure that an “organic feedlot” isn’t, ecologically speaking, an oxymoron. What I really wanted to taste is the sort of preindustrial beef my grandparents ate—from animals that have lived most of their full-length lives on grass.

Eventually I found a farmer in the Hudson Valley who sold me a quarter of a grass-fed Angus steer that is now occupying most of my freezer. I also found ranchers selling grass-fed beef on the Web; Eatwild.com is a clearinghouse of information on grass-fed livestock, which is emerging as one of the livelier movements in sustainable agriculture.

I discovered that grass-fed meat is more expensive than supermarket beef. Whatever else you can say about industrial beef, it is remarkably cheap, and any argument for changing the system runs smack into the industry’s populist arguments. Put the animals back on grass, it is said, and prices will soar; it takes too long to raise beef on grass, and there’s not enough grass to raise them on, since the Western range lands aren’t big enough to sustain America’s 100 million head of cattle. And besides, Americans have learned to love cornfed beef. Feedlot meat is also more consistent in both taste and supply and can be harvested 12 months a year. (Grass-fed cattle tend to be harvested in the fall, since they stop gaining weight over the winter, when the grasses go dormant.)

All of this is true. The economic logic behind the feedlot system is hard to refute. And yet so is the ecological logic behind a ruminant grazing on grass. Think what would happen if we restored a portion of the Corn Belt to the tall grass prairie it once was and grazed cattle on it. No more petrochemical fertilizer, no more herbicide, no more nitrogen runoff. Yes, beef would probably be more expensive than it is now, but would that necessarily be a bad thing? Eating beef every day might not be such a smart idea anyway—for our health, for the environment. And how cheap, really, is cheap feedlot beef? Not cheap at all, when you add in the invisible costs: of antibiotic resistance, environmental degradation, heart disease, E. coli poisoning, corn subsidies, imported oil and so on. All these are costs that grass-fed beef does not incur.

So how does grass-fed beef taste? Uneven, just as you might expect the meat of a nonindustrial animal to taste. One grass-fed tenderloin from Argentina that I sampled turned out to be the best steak I’ve ever eaten. But unless the meat is carefully aged, grass-fed beef can be tougher than feedlot beef—not surprisingly, since a grazing animal, which moves around in search of its food, develops more muscle and less fat. Yet even when the meat was tougher, its flavor, to my mind, was much more interesting. And specific, for the taste of every grass-fed animal is inflected by the place where it lived. Maybe it’s just my imagination, but nowadays when I eat a feedlot steak, I can taste the corn and the fat, and I can see the view from No. 534’s pen. I can’t taste the oil, obviously, or the drugs, yet now I know they’re there.

A considerably different picture comes to mind while chewing (and, O.K., chewing) a grass-fed steak: a picture of a cow outside in a pasture eating the grass that has eaten the sunlight. Meat-eating may have become an act riddled with moral and ethical ambiguities, but eating a steak at the end of a short, primordial food chain comprising nothing more than ruminants and grass and light is something I’m happy to do and defend. We are what we eat, it is often said, but of course that’s only part of the story. We are what what we eat eats too.

The Intoxicating Garden

The Financial Times (UK) July 15, 2021

How Should We Do Drugs Now?

The New York Times July 9, 2021

The efficiency curse

The Washington Post February 5, 2021

Essay on Money

Top Banner

Money is a significant part of human civilisation. It is difficult to think about the world without money. Everybody needs money for various purposes, starting from day-to-day transactions to savings for the future. But if we go back to history, we will find that before money came into existence, there was a barter system to facilitate transactions among individuals in society. With the development of civilisation over time, the barter system lost its ground and was replaced by money. This essay on money will provide ideas to students so they can effectively write essays on this topic. They can also check out the list of CBSE Essays to practise more essays on different topics and boost their writing skills.

500+ Words Essay on Money

Money is any object or record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts which also acts as a standard of deferred payments. The main functions of money are distinguished as: a medium of exchange, a unit of account and a store of value. The money supply of a country consists of currency (banknotes and coins) and bank money. Bank money usually forms the largest part of the money supply.

With the help of money, we can fulfil our dream. We can go on trips to various places, eat tasty food, buy a beautiful house and can buy any luxury items. Many businessmen earn a lot of money by making profits from their businesses. They provide services or make products that people need and make money from them. Now, there are many industries and startups which have set up their business and gained success. But still, there are many people who use illegal modes to earn money and become a part of corruption.

Significance of Money in Economy

Money plays an important role in shaping the economy of any country. Money can stimulate or even hamper economic progress. Money affects the income, output, employment, consumption and economic welfare of the community at large. Money through its purchasing power increases consumption and, as a store of value, increases investment, and employment and leads to economic development.

Demonetisation in India

The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, announced demonetisation on 8th November 2016, where Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes were withdrawn from circulation. It was a major event of the year 2016. The demonetisation decision was taken by the Government in consultation with the RBI. The action was taken to tackle Black Money which is available in various forms like cash, investment in property and real estate, luxury goods like jewellery or with foreign currency dealers and private financiers. The target was to curb the use of black money.

The other motto of demonetisation was to reduce corruption. With demonetisation, the cash in the hands of corrupt people becomes useless, and if the same is deposited in the banks, it loses anonymity, and the person has to pay taxes on the said amount.

The demonetisation also helped in promoting digitalisation through online transactions. A large section of the Indian economy was being run on the cash system, which does not get captured by the tax department as it does not leave any trail. So, the Government thought about promoting digitisation and formalisation of the economy through online transactions, e-wallets, and various payment instruments like Paytm, Rupay cards, the BHIM app etc. The beauty of these instruments is that the entire economic activity gets captured. It reduces tax evasion and improves tax collection.

Students must have found this essay on money useful for improving their essay-writing skills. They can get the study material and the latest updates on CBSE/ICSE/State Board/Competitive Exams, at BYJU’S.

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

Your Mobile number and Email id will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Request OTP on Voice Call

Post My Comment

essay on black power

Register with BYJU'S & Download Free PDFs

Register with byju's & watch live videos.



Live Support


  1. Black power movement essay introduction / biblioteca.fundaciononce.es

    essay on black power

  2. 💋 Black power movement history essay. Civil Rights Movement 1950 to

    essay on black power

  3. Patrisse Cullors, Black Lives Matter founder, on race in America

    essay on black power

  4. Researchers Are Sorry They Used 'Derpy' in a Research Paper

    essay on black power

  5. Essay on black power

    essay on black power

  6. Black Lives Matter, Then and Now

    essay on black power


  1. What Happened to Digi-Burst? (Digimon TCG Analysis)

  2. Unit 3

  3. Why Redman (1972) is still important in 2023

  4. Black Lives Matter in Historical Context

  5. The Power of Ambition

  6. Black Feminism in Literature, Black Feminist Writers, Black Feminist Art Movement, Types of Feminism


  1. ≡Essays on Black Power Movement. Free Examples of Research Paper Topics, Titles

    Absolutely FREE essays on Black Power Movement. All examples of topics, summaries were provided by straight-A students. ✍ Get an idea for your paper

  2. Argumentative Essay On Black Power

    Free Essay: Through the mid 1900's, the black movement began in hopes of creating a better future around a certain view that was based around social

  3. Power

    And if there be such a tie, that, wherever the mind of man goes, nature will accompany him, perhaps there are men whose magnetisms are of that force to draw material and elemental powers

  4. Black Power Movement

    Read this essay on Black Power Movement. Come browse our large digital warehouse of free sample essays. Get the knowledge you need in order to pass your classes and more. Only at TermPaperWarehouse.com

  5. Is it Nation Time? Contemporary Essays on Black Power and Black Nationalism

    The legacy of the movement is still very much with us today in the various strands of black nationalism that originated from it; we witnessed its power in the 1995 Million Mae

  6. Pam Grier and the Empowerment of Exploitation: Analytical Essay on Black Power Movement

    The phrase ‘blaxploitation' already implies the medium was used by Hollywood to exploit blackness, or… For full essay go to Edubirdie.Com

  7. Essay on Money

    500+ Words Essay on Money is provided here to help students write an effective essay on this topic. Use this as a sample essay and use the information to create your own essay