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Causes New inventions & efficient techniques introduced Lack of competition among railroads Machinery is needed; shipping costs higher Money is in.

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Presentation on theme: "Causes New inventions & efficient techniques introduced Lack of competition among railroads Machinery is needed; shipping costs higher Money is in."— Presentation transcript:

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4 Causes New inventions & efficient techniques introduced Lack of competition among railroads Machinery is needed; shipping costs higher Money is in short supply Effects Prices of farm products decline Farmers earnings decrease Farmers are unable to pay back loans Banks lend money to fewer farmers In the period after the Civil War, production on all fronts – industrial and agricultural – increased. Greater supply accordingly led to a drop in prices. For many farmers, lower prices meant trouble, as they were locked into long-term debts with fixed prices.

5 Price Indexes for Consumer & Farm Products: Poor Midwestern and Southern farmers suffered economically due to low prices for their crops, which they blamed on Northeastern business interests.

6 Tariffs helped farmers by protecting them against competition from farm imports. The tariffs also hurt farmers because it inadvertently raised the prices of farm machinery. Thus, farmers had to take out many loans in order to buy the machinery Farmers and Tariffs

7 Problems with the Railroads Lack of competition lets railroads overcharge to transport grain Farms mortgaged to buy supplies; suppliers charge high interest The Rail- roads

8 money supplyFarmers wanted an increase in the money supply, the amount of money in the national economy. WHY? inflationWHY? Value of every dollar drops, leads to a widespread rise in prices, or inflation. farmers banksThis trend would benefit people who borrow money (farmers), but it would not be good for money lenders (banks). The Money Issue Looking for a solution to their problem, farmers came to support a more generous money supply. An increase in available money, they correctly figured, would make payment easier. It would also cause inflation, which would make the farmers debts (held by Northern banks) worth less. Not surprisingly, the banks opposed the plan, preferring for the country to use gold to back its money supply.

9 So they started a movement to support the use of SILVER coins, instead of GOLD coins: bimetallic standard –Before 1873 U.S. currency was on a bimetallic standard, consisting of gold and silver –Using silver would mean a more generous money supply –Inflation: An increase in available money would make payment easier for them, which made the farmers debts worth less

10 The banks opposed the plan, preferring the country to use GOLD to back its money supply Silver was mined in the West –Western miners supported silver Thus, this controversial issue had a regional component Pitted poor farmers against wealthy bankers –Elements of class strife

11 Bi-Metallism Issue

12 The Bland-Allison Act of 1878 silverites Gold standard enraged the silverites, mostly silver-mining interest and western farmers. Silverites Silverites called for free silver (precious white metal), the unlimited coining of silver dollars to increase the money supply. Federal government was to purchase and coin more silver, thereby increasing the money supply and causing inflation Vetoed by President Hayes because he opposed the inflation. Congress overrode the veto. Treasury Department refused to buy more than the minimum amount of silver required by the act. The act had limited effect. The farmers plan called for the liberal use of silver coins, and because silver was mined in the West, this plan had the added support of Western miners along with that of Midwestern and Southern farmers. Thus, the issue had a regional component. Because it pitted poor farmers against wealthy bankers, it also had elements of class strife. Although a complicated matter, the money issue was potentially explosive.

13 Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890 Increased the amount of silver that the government was required to purchase every month The law required the Treasury to buy the silver with notes that could be redeemed for either silver or gold. Many people turned in their silver Treasury notes for gold dollars, thus depleting the gold reserves. In 1893, President Cleveland pushed for and succeeded in repealing the Silver Purchase Act. New gold mines allowed for the US to go back on the gold standard.

14 The silver vs. gold debate provided an issue around which farmers could organize 1) Grange Movement, –By 1875 had more than one million members. Started out as cooperatives –Purpose: Allow farmers to buy machinery and sell crops as a group, and therefore, reap the benefits of economies of scale –Soon, they began to endorse political candidates and lobbied for legislation Print illustrating a granger's procession and mass meeting, in "History of the Grange Movement" (National Publishing Co., 1874).

15 Gift for the Grangers: The Farmer Pays for All!

16 The Granges ultimately died out due to lack of money, but were replaced by Farmers Alliances. Grew into a political party called the Peoples Party, the political arm of the Populist movement.

17 United We Stand, Divided We Fall In 1889 both the Northern and Southern Alliances merged into onthe Farmers Alliance. In 1889 both the Northern and Southern Alliances merged into onthe Farmers Alliance.

18 The Peoples Party ran for the presidency in 1892 Supported the generous coinage of silver Called for government ownership of railroads and telegraphs Demanded a graduated income tax, direct election of US senators, and shorter workdays Although their 1892 presidential candidate came in third, he won more than one million votes (9% of popular vote) The Independent People's Party (Populist) Convention at Columbus, Nebraska, where Omer Kem was nominated for Congress, July 15, 1890, photo by Solomon D. Butcher.

19 Organized in 1867 in response to farmers isolation. Helped farmers form cooperatives which bought goods in large quantities at lower prices. The Grange also pressured government to regulate businesses on which farmers depended. The Grange The Farmers Alliance called for political actions that many farmers could support. The alliances won support for womens rights. Blacks allowed but parallel Colored Farmers Alliance. Farmers Alliance Populists PopulistsFarmers Alliances formed a new political party, The Peoples Party or the Populists. A national movement that was supported by farmers, the West and parts of the South…. Populists would elect a presidential candidate in the 1892 and 1896 presidential elections. Local and state level Peoples Movement Spreads Becomes a national movemnt The silver vs. gold debate provided an issue around which farmers could organize. They did just that. First came the Grange Movement, which by 1875 had more than one million members. They Granges started out as cooperatives, with the purpose of allowing farmers to buy machinery and sell crops as a group, and therefore, reap the benefits of economies of scale. Soon, the Granges endorsed political candidates and lobbied for legislation. The Granges ultimately died out due to lack of money, but they were replaced by Farmers Alliances. The Farmers Alliances were even more successful than the Grange movement, and they soon grew into a political party called the Peoples Party, the political arm of the Populist movement.

20 1892 Presidential Election As Cleveland took office in 1893, the country entered a four-year financial crisis. Hard economic times made Populists goals more popular, particularly the call for easy money. Most people at the time, after all, had no money at all.

21 The Populist (Peoples) Party Founded by James B. Weaver and Tom Watson. Omaha, NE Convention in July, Omaha, NE Convention in July, Got almost 1 million popular votes. Got almost 1 million popular votes. Several Congressional seats won. Several Congressional seats won. James B. Weaver, Presidential Candidate & James G. Field, VP The Peoples Party held a conviction in (The platform it drew up presented many of the ideas that would later be championed by the Progressives – it will come up in the next lecture).

22 Omaha Platform of Purer democracy: more involvement of people Womens suffrage Womens suffrage Direct election of U.S. senators Direct election of U.S. senators Term limits for Congress Term limits for Congress 2. Govt. ownership of RRs, telephone & telegraph companies. 3. Income tax 4. Initiative and referendum Citizens propose and review legislation Citizens propose and review legislation 5. Restriction of undesirable immigration hour work day for government employees. 7. Demanded free and unlimited coinage of silver 8. A single term for President & Vice President. 9. Sherman Silver Purchase Act 16 to 1 16 to 1 Purchase silver from mines in the west Purchase silver from mines in the west Aside from supporting the generous coinage of silver, the Populists called for government ownership of railroads and telegraphs, a graduated income tax, direct election of US senators, and shorter workdays. Although their 1892 presidential candidate came in third, he won more than one million votes, awakening Washington to the growing Populist movement.

23 As Cleveland took office in 1893, the country entered a four-year financial crisis. Hard economic times made Populists goals more popular, particularly the call for easy money Most people at the time, after all, had no money at all Times got so bad that even more progressive (even radical) movements gained popularity –Eg: In 1894 the Socialists, led by Eugene V. Debs, gained support.

24 Government Regulation Granger State Laws State representatives voted into office by members of the Grange who in turn represented the interests of farmers and passed state laws regulating railroad prices in 18 states. Munn v. Illinois (1876) Supreme Court decision stating that states had the ability to regulate private property if it affected public interest. Wabash Case (1886) Declared that it was unconstitutional for states to regulate interstate commerce. Showed need for Federal regulation of interstate commerce. Interstate Commerce Commission (1887) In 1887, Congress passed the Interstate Commerce Act that setup the ICC. The federal government has the ability to regulate all aspects of interstate commerce. Rebates and drawbacks were illegal. Sherman Antitrust Act (1890) In 1890, Congress passed this act which prohibited monopolies or any business that prevented fair competition.

25 In 1893, Jacob Coxey, of Massillon, Ohio, and some 20,000 men and women began a march to Washington, DC. Demanded US Govt. public works programs, mainly railroads for the nation's unemployed.

26 Coxeys Army, 1894 Jacob Coxey & his Army of the Commonwealth of Christ. March on Washington = hayseed socialists! March on Washington = hayseed socialists!

27 600 protesters persisted through the length of the journey and on May 1, "Coxey's Army" "Coxey's Army" reached Washington and marched along Pennsylvania Avenue. "General" CoxeyBefore "General" Coxey could deliver a historic speech, however, he was arrested by District police - for walking on the grass.

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29 In 1896, the Populists backed Democratic candidate William Jennings Bryan He ran against Republican nominee William McKinley Bryan ran on a strictly Populist platform & based his campaign on the call for free silver. –An easy money supply would loosen the control that Northern banks held over the country Lost the campaign Economy soon improved & ended the Populist movement.

30 1860 to 1925 William Jennings Bryan was a gifted speaker, lawyer, three- time presidential candidate, and devout Protestant. Bryan made his career in Nebraska politics. Served in the U.S. House of Representatives in Populist Party Defender of the small farmer and laborer, Bryan worked closely with the Populist Party. By 1896, the Populists were poised for power. They backed Democratic candidate William Jennings Bryan against Republican nominee William McKinley, and Bryan ran on a strictly Populist platform; he based his campaign on the call for free silver.

31 "Great Commoner Bryan's efforts on behalf of farmers and laborers (the so- called "common" people) earned him the title the "Great Commoner Ran for the presidency unsuccessfully in 3 elections as a Democrat. Cross of Gold Speech Known for the Cross of Gold Speech He argued that an easy money supply, though inflationary, would loosen the control that Northern banking held over the country.

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33 real business menArgued the real business men were farmers, agricultural workers, miners and small town merchants. " pioneer spirit "Demonstrated the true " pioneer spirit " of America ignored by a governmentThese workers were all but ignored by a government that served the interests of big cities and large corporate enterprise.

34 William Jennings Bryan

35 They tell us that the great cities are in favor of the gold standard. We reply that our great cities rest upon our broad and great prairies. William Jennings Bryan's most well-known political speech delivered before the Democratic Convention in 1896.

36 You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns; you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold Attacked the concept that gold was the only sound backing for currency.

37 Using images from the Bible, he stood with his head bowed and arms outstretched.

38 William McKinley ( ) Born in Ohio on January 29, Private during the Civil War and earned the rank of major in 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 , the Republican Party nominated him for president. stressed protective tariffs supported the gold standard.

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40 Into Which Box Will the Voter of 96 Place His Ballot?

41 1896 Election Results He lost the campaign; this coupled with an improved economy, ended the Populist movement.

42 By 1892, Populist Party had major impact in agricultural states.

43 Gold Triumphs Over Silver McKinley defeats Bryan in the 1896 election. McKinley defeats Bryan in the 1896 election = Gold Standard Act 1900 = Gold Standard Act Confirmed the nations commitment to the gold standard. Confirmed the nations commitment to the gold standard. A victory for the forces of conservatism. A victory for the forces of conservatism.

44 Why Did Bryan Lose? His focus on silver undermined efforts to build bridges to urban voters. He did not form alliances with other groups. He did not form alliances with other groups. McKinleys campaign was well- organized and highly funded. McKinleys campaign was well- organized and highly funded.

45 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.

46 Easy way to remember the Populists is through the book: The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum. The novel is reportedly a political allegory (according to Henry Littlefield). Dorothy = common man Her silver shoes = silver standard Scarecrow = farmer Tin Man = industrial worker William J. Bryan = cowardly Lion

47 The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

48 1964: Henry Littlefields Thesis?

49 a. The Cowardly Lion = William Jennings Bryan b. The Tin Woodsman = eastern industrial worker c. The Scarecrow = farmer Wicked Witch of the East = Bankers d. Dorothy and her "silver slippers" = the proposed silver standard e. The Yellow-Brick Road = the gold standard supported by financiers f. The Wizard of Oz = President William McKinley

50 Munn v. Illinois (1876) Supreme Court decision stating that states had the ability to regulate private property if it affected public interest. Wabash Case (1886) Declared that it was unconstitutional for states to regulate interstate commerce. Showed need for Federal regulation of interstate commerce.


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