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Chapter 8 Section 3 The Populist Movement.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 8 Section 3 The Populist Movement."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 8 Section 3 The Populist Movement

2 The Farmers Plight The rise in industrialization changed farmers lives significantly More people in urban areas meant more food. Prices soon tumbled as supply exceeded demand In addition expenses such as railroad freight charges and the cost of new machinery continued to rise. Farmers profits plummeted.

3 Farmers Organize The first major farmers organization was the National Grange, a social organization that began tackling economic and political issues. {Some Grange member farmers formed Cooperatives so they could buy machinery at wholesale and sell their produce directly to big-city markets} there by cutting costs.

4 Cooperatives Still Exist Today

5 The Grange Movement The Grange’s main focus was on forcing states to regulate freight and grain storage rates. Eventually legislature began to respond to pressure from farmers and many farming states passed Granger Laws to standardize rates. {When state governments passed Granger Laws railroads protested that only federal government, not states, could regulate railroads} This ordeal later led to the passage of the Interstate Commerce Act, stating that railroad rates had to be “reasonable and just”

6 The Alliance Movement At the same time the Farmers Alliance took shape. The Alliance offered farmers low-cost insurance. It also lobbied for a graduated income tax that taxed higher incomes at a higher rate. The Alliance consisted of 3 organizations: the National Farmers Alliance, the all-white Southern Alliance and the Colored Farmers Alliance. All worked toward the same goals

7 African American Farmers
Despite common goals the Southern and Colored Farmers’ Alliances remained segregated institutions. The Colored Farmers leader R.M. Humphrey led a strike of cotton pickers that led to the death of at least 15 cotton pickers discouraging many African Americans from joining the Alliance. These racial divisions within the Alliance brought about the end of the Colored Farmers Alliance


9 The Money Question At one time dollars were redeemable for either gold or silver. Until Congress voted to stop coining silver and convert the money supply to the Gold Standard. Under this system each dollar was equal to and redeemable for a certain amount of gold. The conversion to the gold standard resulted in a decrease in the amount of money in circulation and a lowering of prices.

10 Continued……. {Farmers wanted the government to back paper money with silver because it would put more money in circulation, thereby reducing the value of the dollar and enabling them to pay off debt more easily} (Don’t consider this greed guys the average farmer still only gets about 5 to 10 cents on the dollar now. It was worse then) Alliance members threw themselves into the 1890 election backing candidates who backed them. The Alliance-backed candidates won more than 40 seats in Congress.

11 A Decade of Populist Politics
Pleased by their success the Alliance sought to create their own political party. Alliance Members, farmers, labor leaders, and reformers became known as the Populist Party {The Populist Party adopted most of the goals of the National Grange and Farmers’ Alliance.}


13 Continued….. The Populist Party nominated James B. Weaver to run in the 1892 presidential election. Running against Rep. Benjamin Harrison and Dem. Grover Cleveland. Cleveland won the election. {Grover Cleveland is the only U.S. president to serve two nonconsecutive terms}

14 The Election of 1896 Republicans chose William McKinley as their candidate for president Democrats chose William Jennings Bryan Bryan was a free-silver supporter so the Populist party backed him. Scared of Bryans popularity business leaders contributed millions of dollars to the Rep. campaign. McKinley won.

15 The End of Populism { The Populist Party lost its influence and faded from the national scene because farmers economic situations improved and they lost interest in the party} However the party did lay down the ground work for future reform.

16 The Allegory of Oz In the Wizard of Oz: Meaning: Oz ounce (oz) of gold Dorothy "Everyman" Tin Woodsman industrial worker Scarecrow farmer Cowardly Lion William Jennings Bryan, populist leader Munchkins the "little people" Yellow Brick Road gold standard Toto a dog

17 The Wizard of OZ "In the story, Dorothy is swept away from Kansas in a tornado and arrives in a mysterious land inhabited by `little people.' Her landing kills the Wicked Witch of the East (bankers and capitalists), who `kept the munchkin people in bondage.' "In the movie, Dorothy begins her journey through the Land of Oz wearing ruby slippers, but in the original story Dorothy's magical slippers are silver [a reference to the bimetallic system advocated by W.J. Bryan]. Along the way on the yellow brick (gold) road, she meets a Tin Woodsman who is `rusted solid' (a reference to the industrial factories shut down during the depression of 1893). The Tin Woodsman's real problem, however, is that he doesn't have a heart (the result of dehumanizing work in the factory that turned men into machines).

18 The Wizard of OZ "Farther down the road Dorothy meets the Scarecrow, who is without a brain (the farmer, Baum suggests, doesn't have enough brains to recognize what his political interests are). [Shades of Marx's critique of peasants!] Next Dorothy meets the Cowardly Lion, an animal in need of courage (Bryan, with a load roar but little else). Together they go off to Emerald City (Washington) in search of what the wonderful Wizard of Oz (the President) might give them. "When they finally get to Emerald City and meet the Wizard, he, like all good politicians, appears to be whatever people wish to see in him. He also plays on their fears.... But soon the Wizard is revealed to be a fraud--only a little old man `with a wrinkled face' who admits that he's been `making believe.' `I am just a common man,' he says. But he is a common man who can rule only by deceiving the people into thinking that he is more than he really is.

19 I don’t know what the flying monkeys symbolized

20 The Wizard of OZ "`You're a humbug,' shouts the Scarecrow, and this is the core of Baum's message. Those forces that keep the farmer and worker down are manipulated by frauds who rule by deception and trickery; the President is powerful only as long as he is able to manipulate images and fool the people. [Politics doesn't change, does it?] "Finally, to save her friends, Dorothy `melts' the Wicked Witch of the West (just as evil as the East), and the Wizard flies off in a hot-air balloon to a new life. The Scarecrow (farmer) is left in charge of Oz, and the Tin Woodsman is left to rule the East. This populist dream of the farmer and worker gaining political power was never to come true, and Baum seems to recognize this by sending the Cowardly Lion back into the forest, a recognition of Bryan's retreat from national politics. "Dorothy is able to return to her home with the aid of her magical silver shoes, but on waking in Kansas, she realizes that they've fallen off, representing the demise of the silver coinage issue in American politics (Copied from


22 Review Questions Who first popularized the Republican elephant and the Democratic donkey? Which president was assassinated in 1881, just four months after taking office? Some Grange member farmers formed THESE so they could buy machinery at wholesale? When state governments passed Granger Laws railroads protested that only who? could regulate railroads Why did farmers want the government to back paper money with silver?

23 Test Next Class!

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