The Farmers RevoltA few years after Appomattox, the farmers troublesbegan: - A bushel of wheat, in 1873 sold for $1.21,twelve years later went for 49 cents.Prices that made up the farmers income fell.Farmers constantly had to borrow to meet theirmortgage payments, to buy the new machinery theyneeded, or to pay their help until they sold the nextharvest"Foreclose"- "The heartless sheriff with a longmustache who threatened to foreclose the mortgagewas no joke between 1870-1900."
The Farmers Organize First national farm organization, Patrons of Husbandry, entered in 1867 at around the time the Knights of Labor was organized Oliver H. Kelley - clerk in the Department of Agriculture at Washington1. Poverty of farm life, organized patrons as a social and educational society.2.There were members all over the country in twenty thousand local lodges called Granges.
The Farmers Organize cont.• Burden of interest on their farm mortgages seemed to become heavier every year.• In result to the raising of rates by the railroads, farmers in the Granges and later in alliances organized cooperatives to save money by buying seed and fertilizers in large quantities.• Set up factories to make machinery that members could buy for less.• New mechanical devices- reapers, binders, threshers, were invented• Production soared
The "Granger Laws."• Farmers did not understand the reasons for their troubling situations. Blamed it on greedy banks, railroads, and grain elevators.• New political parties appeared in about a dozen Midwestern and southern states.-Called for state control of corporations, of railroads, for “cheap money”, for economy in government, and for other reforms.• Farmers Party created the "Granger Laws" in 1870. They managed to pass state laws regulating railroad and grain elevator rates.• The laws were not effective and powerful railroads sometimes ignored the laws.• Munn v. Illinois (1876)- the supreme court upheld the Illinois law that set maximum rates for grain storage.• “Police power”- gave the state the right to regulate private property.
The Farmers Alliances• Farmers felt less need for the Grange and their own farmers’ political parties.• When prices fell again, the farmers suffered.• Alliances- formed in the1880s and 1890s and went actively into politics.• Western states formed their own parties.• South- worked among Democrats who were the only political party.• The farmers successes in the 1890 elections persuaded the farmers in the western territories to try to form a separate national party.• Hope that the southern farmers would join them in this effort.• Southern farmers of all races were ready for a change.• Some white farmers now were willing to work with blacks to gain the reforms that would bring all a better life.
The Populist Party is Formed•Western/southern farmers, radicals, and reformers inOmaha, Nebraska, July of 1892 called for reform.-Larger income tax-Government should own railroads, telegraph, and telephone-Free coinage of silver, increase in money supply to $50 perindividual-Shorter working day for industrial workers-Direct election of senators
The Populist Party cont.• People were not afraid of wealthy• Mary Elizabeth Lease-Believed Wall Street owned the country instead of people• “Sock less Jerry” Simpson-While running for Congress, accused his rich opponent for wearing silk socks-He was accused himself for not wearing any socks• Tom Watson-Spoke for farmers in Congress
The Election of 1892• Republicans nominated Benjamin Harrison Weaver• Democrats nominated Grover Cleveland• Populists nominated James B. Weaver• McKinley Tariff aroused.• Republicans: Harrison- Defended McKinley Tariff (raised tax on majority of goods produced outside of the country that competed with American production)- Republicans supported tariff to protect growing industries from foreign countries- Tariff still hurt many farmers, they voted Republicans out of office in congressional elections (1890)
Election of 1892• Democrats:-Support of businessmen, opposed free silver and inflation-Reduction in the tariff• Labor strife- Factory would shut down if experiencing difficult times and could afford to- Workers had to survive, if complained or went on strike- replaced Cleveland• Homestead Strike- President Harrison sent in federal troops (at gov’t request) to the riot by striking miners- People put faith into Cleveland• Cleveland won- 373,000 more votes than Harrison and 277 electoral votes to Harrison’s 145, Democrats won both houses of Congress• Populists elected 3 senators and 11 members of the House
Clevelands Second Term• He was reelected into office in 1892• After having such a successful first term, his second term was a complete failure• The worst depression to date took place during his second term• This was due to the fact that the Treasury was rapidly loosing gold because of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act• * Sherman Silver Purchase Act- there were treasury notes in circulation to buy silver but they were allowing people to get gold from them instead.• Cleveland wanted to overturn this act and he immediately called a session in congress to attempt to do so• After a many arguments followed by a stalemate the act was repealed
New Tariff and an Income Tax• A new tariff was created called the Wilson-Gorman tariff similar to the McKinley Tariff it involved taxes in America• Cleveland did not agree with the tariff and refused to sign it, but it would help the economy a bit so he did not veto it• After ten days due to law the bill became a law because Cleveland did not sign it• This law would collect a 2% tax from people making over 4,000 dollars• But before this tax could be put into action it was taken to the supreme court• It was declared unconstitutional in Pollock v. Farmers’ Loan and Trust Co. by just a 5 to 4 vote
Labor Discontent• Millions of people were out of work during the depression causing havoc.• In April, Jacob Coxey led 500 workers to Washington from Ohio to publicize the troubling situations of the poor.• The Sherman Antitrust Act turned against the workers who were on strike.-The act was passed to control large corporations.-Now the federal court declared that the striking union was a "conspiracy in restraint of trade," which was forbidden.• President Cleveland was powerless during the depression and refused to give "cheap pay".• Populist votes increased by 42% and Republicans jumped to a 141-seat majority• Largest congressional gain ever recorded
Plugging the drain on gold• The repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act in 1893 failed.• Green backs and silver certificates could still be turned in for gold.• Cleveland was desperate to find away to save the nations credit.• Turned to J.P. Morgan-"Organizer extraordinary" and most powerful banker-It was believed that J.P. had more power than the President.-He brought 65$ million in gold.