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Farmers & the Populist Movement

USPA 13.3

Sara Bivin

on 3 September 2012

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Transcript of Farmers & the Populist Movement

Farmers & the Populist Movement! Greenbacks!
Loans: borrowed money worth less than amount loans were for. HARD to pay back!
Crop prices dropped!
Tried to get government to print more money, but this didn't work. Economic Problems! Farmers united to address economic problems, giving rise to the Populist movement! Farmers paid outrageously high prices for transporting grain.
Secret agreements with middlemen, allowing railroads to control grain storage prices and influence market price of crops. Problems with Railroads! Farmers mortgage farms for credit to buy seed and supplies. Cycle of Debt Suppliers charge high interest rates & charge more for items bought on credit than with cash. Farm prices drop, so they make less than expected, now unable to pay back debts. It costs the farmers more to ship produce by rail than they will make by selling their product. 1. How does this cartoon depict the plight of the Farmers?

2. Who does the cartoonist suggest is responsible for the farmers' plight? 1867: Oliver Hudson Kelley started the Patrons of Husbandry.
This group later became known as THE GRANGE.
The Grange fought railroads.
Battle plan: teach members
how to organize
how to set up farmers' cooperatives
how to sponsor state legislation to regulate railroads.
Other organizations = Farmers Alliances.
sent speakers from town to town to educate people.
Most separated between black and white. Farmers Alliances "The movement of the people." was born in 1892.
Populist Party convention demanded reforms to:
lift debts of farmer and other workers.
give the people a greater voice in the government. Populism
increase in the money supply
increase in prices received for goods and services
graduated income tax
federal loan program. Economic Reforms election of US senators by popular vote
single terms for the President and VP
a secret ballot to end vote fraud
8-hour work day
Restrictions on Immigration Governmental Reforms Who?

What Wanted


Effects Silverites v. Gold Bugs Farmers & laborers

more money in circulation

products sold at higher prices

Inflation bankers & businessmen

gold standard
less money in circulation

Loans repaid in stable $$

Deflation Election of 1896:

William McKinley (Republican)


William Jennings Bryan (Democrat)

**Populists end up supporting Bryan. McKinley firmly backed the gold standard.
Bryan backed bimetallism.

Bryan gave a very important speech that came to be known as the "Cross of Gold" speech:
"Having behind us the producing masses of this nation and the world, supported by the commercial interests, the laboring interests, and the toilers everywhere, we will answer their demand for a gold by saying to them: You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold." Bryan and the
"Cross of Gold" POPULISM ENDS! McKinley is elected & populism collapses!

2 legacies: downtrodden can organize and have an impact,
Full transcript