In our research on bacon, we stumbled across this essay in a 1901 issue of The American Kitchen Magazine that clearly explains how important bacon was to the development of America.
IMPORTANCE OF BACON
"I Have a profound respect for bacon," remarked a thoughtful citizen at a local hotel cafe, spearing one of the savory brown slices that garnished his breakfast eggs. "As a patriotic American, it commands my unbounded esteem and gratitude. Did it ever occur to you that we are indebted primarily to bacon for the opening up and development and civilization of more than one-half of this grand and glorious Republic? That, without bacon, the great West, with its thriving cities, its countless industries, its fertile farms, its magnificent mines, its gigantic web of railroad and telegraph and telephone lines, and all its other wonderful evidences of progress and prosperity — that, without bacon, this superbly flourishing domain would in all probability be a howling wilderness at the present moment?" The thoughtful citizen paused for breath.
"You astonish me," said his friend across the table.
"That is because you have never given the subject any attention," he replied. "Bacon has been the chief agency in the development of our country, for the simple reason that it has been the chief food of the pioneer. It was the only kind of meat that was easily portable and would keep for an indefinite period. Fremont’s pathfinders carried it, so did the gold hunters of ‘49, and so did all that tremendous army of emigrants and frontiersmen who gradually opened up the unknown region between the Mississippi River and the Pacific coast. The prospectors who toiled up and down the continental divide and located the great mineral resources of the country lived principally upon bacon, and to this day it is the main item in the ‘grub stake’ of every adventurer who goes into the mountains to seek for ore. To sum the matter up, the advance guard of civilization has moved steadily westward, eating bacon and conquering savage nature, and without that humble article of diet the red man and the buffalo would still be prowling over regions where pink teas flourish and culture rules the roost. You must bear in mind, too, that the bacon upon which all these gigantic achievements are based is not the high-priced, delicately flavored breakfast bacon of a first-class cafe. It is sterner stuff. It is the strong, dark, greasy bacon of ordinary commerce, that comes in great, rough slabs and smells like scorched shoe leather. At first sight you would turn away from it in disgust, but as a ration to work on and fight on it has no equal in the world. I grant you that the fancy condensed foods they are putting up for the armies nowadays are vastly prettier to look at, and the chemists say they contain ten times the nutriment to the square inch, but let a company of tired, hungry soldiers go into camp after a forced march or a fierce battle, and I will wager horses to horsehair that they throw away all their tinned gimcracks for one rasher of good old-fashioned bacon, hot from the skillet. I am not especially fond of bacon myself," added the thoughtful citizen, "but I revere it for the illustrious part it plays in history. If I had my own way about it, I would remove the torch from the upraised hand of Bartholdi’s magnificent statue of liberty enlightening the world and substitute a colossal rasher of bacon. Then it would be truly symbolic of American progress."
[via Google Books]