Farmers were influential members of society, and were members of a wide range of socio-economic groups. Politicians had to consider the interests of farmers when they sought election or considered a policy. In fact, many statesmen, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, were themselves farmers. Farmers on small farms were often close to towns or other farms, and tended to contribute to the larger community while maintaining their independent status. Large plantations, however, were generally self-contained, providing most basic needs and reducing interdependence between farms. The specifics of farming family lifestyles depended on the region in which the farmers lived.