Populism was the movement to increase farmer’s political power and to work for legislation in their interest. All the financial crisis farmers’ confronted were origin from the Civil War. They produced more crops at a lower price. Banks and transportation charged high tariffs on the farmers. In order to control the money, United States Treasury issued greenbacks, paper currency not exchangeable with silver or gold. This caused inflation, decline of money value.
After the Civil War ended, three currencies were circulating the US which were greenbacks, gold, and silver coins. The government stopped printing greenbacks and stop making silver coins in order to cause a deflation, an increase in the value of money and decrease in general the value of money. The deflation had a bad impact on the farmers.
Farmers found out that the only way government were going to meet their demands was buy organizing. United States Department of Agriculture sent Oliver H. Kelley to report the conditions and realized that farmers were very isolated. This report brought to the creation of the Patrons of Husbandry (Grange) the first national farm organization. The Granger failed in their demands and rise their benefits.
The Farmers’ Alliance met in Ocala, Florida and created the Ocala Demands. • The demands were: adoption of the subtreasury plan, free coinage of silver, end to protective tariffs and national banks, tighter regulation of the railroads, and direct election of senators by voters. To prevent farmers from voting for Populists, Republicans in Congress, led by Senator John Sherman, pushed through the Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890. • Authorize United States Treasury to purchase 4.5 million ounces of silver per month. • Many pro-Alliance members were selected for the government giving Populism power.
The Populist Party • was a relatively short-lived political party in the United States in the late 19th century. • The Populist Party grew out of the agrarian revolt that rose to the collapse of agriculture prices following the Panic of 1873. • promoted collective economic action by farmers and achieved widespread popularity in the South and Great Plains. • The Populists were the first political party in the United States to actively include women in their affairs. • openly talked of the need for poor blacks and poor whites to set aside their racial differences in the name of shared economic self-interest.
In 1892, the People’s Party organized a political party and nominated James B. Weaver. The demands were that 16 ounces of silver equal 1 ounce of gold. Also for federal ownership of railroads and a graduated income tax, tax higher earnings more heavily. The main goal was to strengthen the government in order to defend from self- interests.
Populists also seek the demands organized labors seek for. The close relation with the Knights of labors brought many difficulties. The Panic of 1893 caused a great impact bringing many identities to bankruptcy and limiting Populism. Do to the economic crisis, the Sherman Silver Purchase Act was destitute.
Populism brought to the United States theserious demands of the farmers whowere affected by industrialization.
The American Vision-national geograpgic. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Populist_Party_