AP Chapter 19 The Agrarian RevoltThe American people were starting to rubbleand become frustrated over concerns such asthe tariff, the trusts and monopolies and theunfair practices of the railroads and theFederal government was doing nothing.Change was coming and it would upset thepolitical equilibrium of the Gilded Age
Written by a farmer in the late 19c• When the banker says hes broke And the merchant’s up in smoke, They forget that its the farmer who feeds them all. It would put them to the test If the farmer took a rest; Then theyd know that its the farmer who feeds them all.
FarmersThe result of their discontent was the emergence of one of the first grass roots political protest movements-- PopulismIt devolves in stages—starting at the local level and moving to the National level
Framers concerns• New inventions and efficient techniques• Money needed• Tight money• Lack of competition among RR• Prices for crops deceases• Over production of crops• “supply and demand”?
The Grange Local and State Levels• Founded in response to farmers isolation• 1867 Oliver H. Kelley• Social and educational• Formed over 400 enterprises— stores, creameries, warehouses, etc.• Worked to elect state legislators—gained control of the legislatures in most of the Midwestern states
The Demise• Any laws or regulations gained were soon destroyed by the courts.• In the late 1870’s, decline in the power of the organization and membership
The Farmers’ Alliances• Similar to the Grange movement, in their concerns with local problems and the like, they differed in terms of their vision.• Wanted to build a society based on cooperation, not economic competition— wanted a sense of mutual neighborly responsibility.
“ Raise less corn and more Hell”• Another way the Farmers’ Alliances was different was the role women in it.• Full voting members• Emphasizing issues of particular concern to women• Mary E. Lease—a fiery oratorwho made over 160 speeches--denouncing the role of banks, RR,and middlemen. Blacks allowed but separated--Colored Farmers’ Alliances
• The Farmers’ Alliance grew-- across local to state levels- more widespread than the Grange but suffered from similar problems.• But as a result of the frustrations –a new push towards a national level grew.• The creation of a national political organization—a 3rd political party—The Peoples’ Party, AKA: The Populist
The Populist Constituency• Farmers—small farmers-western and southern• Populists were especially concerned about the high cost of money• demand lower railroad rates.• Populist leaders called on the people to rise up, seize the reins of government, and tame the power of the wealthy and privileged.• accused the Democrats of sacrificing "the liberty and prosperity of the country..• and the Republicans of doing the wishes of "monopolists, gamblers, gigantic corporations, bondholders, [and] bankers”
Platform• The partys platform endorsed labor unions, decried long work hours, and championed the graduated income tax as a way to redistribute wealth from business to farmers and laborers• The Populists also called for a secret ballot; womens suffrage; an eight-hour workday, direct election of U.S. Senators and the President and Vice President; and initiative and recall to make the political system more responsive to the people.
• The Populists embraced government regulation to get out from the domination of unregulated big business. The platform demanded government ownership of railroads, natural resources, and telephone and telegraph systems.• A new banking system controlled by the government• $$$ be increased in circulation-by $50 for every man, women and child as opposed to $5
1892 Election• Demonstrated power in the election-James Weaver, Presidential candidate—won 1 million votes—22 electoral votes• 1500 Populists candidates won election to state legislatures, 3 governors, 5 state senators and 10 congressmen
• Populist rhetoric still plays an important role in American politics today. Politicians speak the language of populism whenever they defend ordinary people against entrenched elites and a government dominated by special interests.• The movement burned brightly from 1889 to 1896, before fading out. Nevertheless, this movement fundamentally changed American politics.
The Panic of 1893• The worst economic depression until 1930’s• At the worst over 1 million workers out of work— about 20% of the labor force• Rarely in American history had conditions seemed so unsettled. The financial panic of 1893 was followed by four years of high unemployment and business bankruptcies. The panic led Jacob Coxey, a businessman from Massillon, Ohio, to organize the first mass march on Washington. Coxeys army demanded a federal public works program. As rumors of revolution swept Washington, the government responded by jailing the marchs leaders.
• There were many signs of union unrest as well during the decade• The Homestead Steel Strike• The Pullman Strike• Many targeted their anger at President Cleveland who took a laissez-faire approach to resolving the depression
The Silver Question• Cleveland believed that the instability of the currency was the primary cause of the depression—therefore the “money question” became the most pressing issue of the time.• What would form the basis of the Dollar?? What would back the dollar??
Silver•Silver in Circulation Silver out of Circulation•--expands the $$ supply --tightens the $$ supply•Who would want this? Who would want this?•-debtors -Banker•-farmers -Capitalists•-people starting a business -Est. businesses -Creditors and Investors• Why? Why?• --borrow at a lower interest --this would allow currency torate hold its value—gold backed•--pay off loans with inflated money is less likely to inflate$$•Have increase prices for the Gold would increase in valuecommodities they produce
• Supporters of Gold considered its survival essential to honor and stability of the nation.• Supporters of silver considered the gold standard an instrument of tyranny –money of oppression and exploitation.• “Free Silver” became to them a symbol of liberation—the people’s money
The Election of 1896• Democrat• William Jennings Bryan—36 years old, well known as an effective orator• Incorporated the silver• Changed the way candidates ran for office— he traveled 18,000 miles and spoke to over 5 million. He was revivalistic and a camp meeting style.
• Argued the “real” business men” were farmers, agricultural workers, miners and small town merchants.• Demonstrated the true "pioneer spirit" of America• These workers were all but ignored by a government that served the interests of big cities and large corporate enterprise
“They tell us that the great cities are in favor of the gold standard. We replythat our great citiesrest upon our broadand great prairies”.
“Burn down your citiesand leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic; but destroy ourfarms, and the grass will grow in the streets of every city of the country”.
“You shall not press down upon the browof labor this crown of thorns; you shall notcrucify mankind upon a cross of gold”
•Using images from the Bible, he stoodwith his head bowed and arms outstretched. •So impressive washis speech that both Democrats andPopulists nominated him for President.
William McKinley (1843-1901) Born in Ohio on January 29, 1843. Private during the Civil War and earned the rank of major in 1865. Served in Congress from 1876 to 1890 and became a supporter of protective tariffs. Elected governor of Ohio in 1891, serving a second term in 1893. 1896, the Republican Party nominated him for president. stressed protective tariffs supported the gold standard.
• Conducted a dignified “front porch” campaign• Spent $7 million on his campaign• Big business supported his run for presidency
Gold Triumphs Over Silver McKinley defeats Bryan in the 1896 election. 1900 Gold Standard Act Confirmed the nation’s commitment to the gold standard. A victory for the forces of conservatism.
Why Did Bryan Loose? His focus on silver undermined efforts to build bridges to urban voters. He did not form alliances with other groups. McKinley’s campaign was well- organized and highly funded.
Why Did Populism Decline?1. The economy experienced rapid change.2. The era of small producers and farmers was fading away.3. Race divided the Populist Party, especially in the South.4. The Populists were not able to break existing party loyalties.5. Most of their agenda was co-opted by the Democratic Party.