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Populism and the Election of 1896

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Jarod Roll

on 22 September 2016

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Transcript of Populism and the Election of 1896

Populism and the Election of 1896

HIS 106
Dr. Roll
Capitalism and money
No cash in the countryside
1878: just over $346 million in circulation (legal maximum)
That was about $7 per person
An economy that ran on debt
-- mortgages to buy land and farms
-- credit to buy food, clothes, medicine
A tight money supply makes money more expensive (deflation)
--harder to pay off debts
--harder to pay for things that require cash, like railroad fares
1870s to 1890s also a period of deflationary prices generally
-- tight money
-- overproduction of basic commodities, especially from farms
-- Depressions of 1870s and 1890s
Who's to blame?

Farmers Alliance
-- "southern" founded in Texas in 1877
-- "northern" founded in Nebraska in 1880
-- "colored" founded in Texas in 1886
--Ocala Demands, 1890
People's Party (Populists)
-- founding convention in Omaha 1892
-- James B. Weaver, more than 1 million votes as presidential candidate in 1892
--Omaha Platform
The money question:
-- Free Silver
-- Gold Standard
William McKinley (Rep.) vs. William Jennings Bryan (Dem. and Populist) in 1896
-- corporations win (banks, railroads, the cities)
-- many Populist ideas and demands would become law by the 1930s
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