Populism

  • Homestead
    • Carnegie required workers not to join any union

    • Government militia destroyed armed workers

    • Neither union nor public opinions could affect big cooperates

  • The US acquired oversea territories

  • South sharecropping system locked many farmers, regardless of their race, into perpetual poverty

  • Overproduction in cotton caused a drop in its price

  • Farmers believed high railroad freight rate, fiscal policies of the federal government, and high interest rate from bankers and merchants caused their economic hardships.

  • Farmers’ Alliance
    • The largest citizens’ movement in the nineteenth century

    • Proposed to establish warehouses where farmers can store their crops until sold and the federal government should issue loans at a lower rate using the crops as a collateral

    • Evolved into the People’s Party, or Populists, in the early 1890s

    • Appealed to all producing classes

    • Published pamphlets and established more than 1000 local newspapers

    • Freedom rests on the ownership of productive property and respect for the dignity of labor

    • Embraced technologies and sought for government regulation of the technologies

    • Believed farmers should follow modern scientific methods of cultivation

  • The Populist platform
    • Adopted 1892 at the party’s Omaha convention

    • Direct election of US senators

    • Graduated income tax

    • Government control of the currency

    • Low cost public financing

    • Workers’ right to form unions

    • Public ownership of the railroads

    • Secret ballot

  • Some populist worked hard to form a black-white alliance

  • Democrats mobilized whites by warnings of black supremacy

  • Populists in all states endorsed women suffrage

  • Populist candidate James weaver received more than 1m votes in presidential election of 1892

  • Federal governments sent soldiers to put down Coxey’s Army

  • Workers refused to handle trains with Pullman cars to protest a reduction in wages. The government used injunction to get workers back to work and imprisoned the union’s president Eugene V. Debs

  • The populist platform had little appeal to urban workers, who shifted to the Republicans

  • The Populists and the Democrats joined support for William Bryan

  • Bryan called for free coinage of silver

  • Bryan embarked on a national speech tour

  • The Republican refused to abandon gold standard

  • Election of 1896 is the first modern presidential campaign because of the amount of money spent

  • McKinley won the election


  • Farmers’ Problems
    • High costs
      • Transportation rates

      • Tools

      • Cost of storage

    • Falling prices for the crops
      • Overproduction

      • Foreign competitions

      • New technologies lead to an increase in production

      • The shortage of currency

    • 1893 depression

  • Populists are reformers, predecessors of the Progressives

  • People began to look at the government as a source of protection

  • Western states were the first states to support women suffrage

  • JP Morgan lent the equivalent of 62 million dollars of gold to the government under Cleveland

  • The Republican controlled the entire government for the next 3 decades