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Populist Party


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Populism Lesson

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Populist Party

  1. 1. “Farmers should raise less corn and more hell.” -Mary Lease, Populist
  2. 2. Farmers in Revolt The Emergence of the Populist Party
  3. 3. Early Farm Organizations The Grange Original Purpose 1867  “To provide a social outlet and educational services for isolated farmers”
  4. 4. Farmer’s Poem When the banker says he’s broke And the merchants up in smoke, They forget that it’s the farmer who feeds them all. It would put them to the test If the farmer took a rest; Then they’d know that it’s the farmer who feeds them all.
  5. 5. The Political • The Grange united to combat the monopolistic practices of the Grange railroads and grain elevators – Its aim was to advance the political, economic, and social interests of the nation's farmers – 860,000 national members • One way they did this was by Grange members getting elected to local, state legislature and Congress offices
  6. 6. The Political • Elected members to state legislature and Congress Grange • Passed “Granger Laws” in the states to regulate the rates charged by railroads and warehouses. • Supreme Court overturns many of these laws
  7. 7. Farmer’s View of the East
  8. 8. Farmers Revolt • Populist Movement – Farmers caught up in a new and complex international market – Factors that upset farmers: 1. Farm prices had steadily declined from 1865-1890. 2. Railroads charged high shipping rates. 3. Farmers mortgaged their farms to buy new farm machines. 4. High tariffs increased prices of factory goods that farmers needed.
  9. 9. The Populist Party Platform 1892 • Increase money supply – create inflation which would raise the prices for crops. • Free coinage of silver – farmers wanted silver on the currency system. • Graduated income tax – taxes increase as income increases. • Direct election of Senators by the people. • Secret Ballot during elections.
  10. 10. The Populist Party Platform 1892 • Initiative –A way for people to rather than legislature to originate laws. • Referendum – A way for a proposed law to be voted on by the people. • Recall – A way for people to remove a public official from office.
  11. 11. 1892 Election
  12. 12. Election of 1892 • Impact: • The Populists did not win the presidential election, but did achieve huge results throughout the nation. • Populists elected governors in Kansas and North Dakota, 10 U.S. Congressmen, 5 U.S. Senators, and 1500 members to state legislatures
  13. 13. Panic of CAUSES: 1893 • Farmer’s debts • Rapid railroad expansion • Drainage of gold from treasury as a result of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act
  14. 14. Result of Panic • By the end of the year, over 15,000 businesses and 500 banks had collapsed. • Farmers and Workers demand change. • Populist Party and Democratic Party nominate William Jennings Bryan who favors money to be backed in both gold and silver.
  15. 15. Election of 1896 • William Jennings Bryan • William McKinley
  16. 16. Election of 1896 Republican Party • Candidate = McKinley •Platform (Beliefs) : U.S. Currency should remain based on Gold Standard
  17. 17. Election of 1896 Democratic and Populist Party • Candidate = Bryan Platform (what they stood for): •Bimetallism – free coinage of silver • Belief was to use gold and silver in the currency system. Result would allow more money to be printed • At this time currency was only backed by gold. •Woman suffrage – voting rights •Income Tax – tax on people’s income
  18. 18. Bi-Metallism Issue
  19. 19. Bryan vs. McKinley Who Supported What they Wanted Why Effects Farmers and Laborers Bankers and Businessmen Bimetallism More money in circulation Gold Standard Less money in circulation Products would sell for higher prices Loans would be paid in stable currency INFLATION Prices rise Value of money decreases More people have money DEFLATION Prices fall Value of money increases Fewer people have money
  20. 20. Into Which Box Will the Voter of ’96 Place His
  21. 21. Election Results • McKinley wins with 7 million votes • Populist Party collapsed
  22. 22. Legacy of the Populist Party • The downtrodden (lower class) could organize and have political impact • Many of the ideas of the Populist Party Platform became law during the first years of the 20th century
  23. 23. Populist Party in Literature L. Frank Baum, a reform-minded Democrat who supported William Jennings Bryan's pro-silver candidacy, wrote the book… The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as a parable of the Populists, an allegory of their failed efforts to reform the nation in 1896.
  24. 24. Wonderful Wizard of Oz Dorothy represented the common person. She was from Kansas a farming/populist state. •The Munchkins represent the “little people” The Wicked Witch of the East represented all the things back east that were Bringing the farmers down… bankers and factories.
  25. 25. In the book Dorothy’s slippers were silver. In the movie they are red. As Dorothy walked along the Yellow Brick Road (gold) in her silver slippers it represented the proper relationship between gold and silver. The main cause of the Populist Party to put both gold and silver on the currency system.
  26. 26. Along the way, Dorothy meets three companions: 1.The Scarecrow, who represents the farmer. Farmers were considered uneducated and dumb they were called names like “hicks” and “hayseeds.” 2. The Tin Man represents the industrial worker who had lost his heart and only focused on working in the factories. 3. The Cowardly Lion represents William Jennings Bryan, who actually was not a coward, but stepped up and took on the Populist cause of free silver as the 1896 Presidential candidate for the Democratic Party.
  27. 27. The Wicked Witch of the West represents all the things out west that are hurting the farmers…railroad rates, low farm prices, tariffs, etc. The Emerald City represents Washington D.C. The Wizard represents politicians who are not always What they seem. OZ represents ounces – 16 ounces of silver = 1 bar of gold
  28. 28. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz • In Baum’s book, Dorothy pours water over the Wicked Witch of the West and she melts. This represents the long drought that farmers had to endure in the Great Plains. Dorothy returns to Kansas using her magical silver slippers (free coinage of silver) and the scarecrow (farmer) rules over Oz.
  29. 29. Legacy of the Populist Party • Direct election of senators (17th Amendment) • Federal Income tax (16th Amendment) • Women’s suffrage (19th Amendment) • Initiative • Referendum • Recall