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Populism. Declining Profits Thanks to new technologies, farmers had opened up the Great Plains and were producing a much greater supply of grains Thanks.

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Presentation on theme: "Populism. Declining Profits Thanks to new technologies, farmers had opened up the Great Plains and were producing a much greater supply of grains Thanks."— Presentation transcript:

1 Populism

2 Declining Profits Thanks to new technologies, farmers had opened up the Great Plains and were producing a much greater supply of grains Thanks to new technologies, farmers had opened up the Great Plains and were producing a much greater supply of grains Grain supply ↑ = Grain prices ↓ Grain supply ↑ = Grain prices ↓ Farmers were earning LESS Farmers were earning LESS

3 Rising Costs High tariffs + unionized factory workers = high prices on manufactured goods High tariffs + unionized factory workers = high prices on manufactured goods Banks were charging high interest on loans Banks were charging high interest on loans Railroads were charging higher fees for shipping grain to eastern markets Railroads were charging higher fees for shipping grain to eastern markets Farmers were paying MORE Farmers were paying MORE

4 The Money Supply To fund the Civil War, US government had flooded the market with paper money (“greenbacks”) To fund the Civil War, US government had flooded the market with paper money (“greenbacks”) Supply of $ ↑ = Value of $ ↓ (inflation) Supply of $ ↑ = Value of $ ↓ (inflation)

5 3 Types of Money Greenbacks Greenbacks Gold & Silver coins Gold & Silver coins Bank notes backed by government bonds Bank notes backed by government bonds

6 Government response to inflation Stopped printing greenbacks Stopped printing greenbacks Stopped minting silver coins Stopped minting silver coins Started paying off government bonds to reduce number of bank notes in circulation Started paying off government bonds to reduce number of bank notes in circulation Response was too strong and reduced the money supply too greatly Response was too strong and reduced the money supply too greatly Supply of $ ↓ = Value of $ ↑ = Prices ↓ (deflation) Supply of $ ↓ = Value of $ ↑ = Prices ↓ (deflation)

7 Deflation Hurts Farmers Decrease in money supply meant loans were harder to get and interest rates were higher Decrease in money supply meant loans were harder to get and interest rates were higher Farmers were getting LESS for their crops but paying MORE for mortgages & other loans Farmers were getting LESS for their crops but paying MORE for mortgages & other loans

8 “The Crime of ’73” Farmers believed that greedy banks had pressured government into reducing the money supply Farmers believed that greedy banks had pressured government into reducing the money supply Began to organize and campaign for government to resume printing greenbacks and/or minting silver coins Began to organize and campaign for government to resume printing greenbacks and/or minting silver coins

9 The Grange “The Patrons of Husbandry” founded in 1867 by USDA official Oliver H. Kelley “The Patrons of Husbandry” founded in 1867 by USDA official Oliver H. Kelley Designed to organize rural farmers; by 1874, the Grange had over 1 million members Designed to organize rural farmers; by 1874, the Grange had over 1 million members

10 The Grange Takes Action Pressured state legislatures to regulate railroad & warehouse rates Pressured state legislatures to regulate railroad & warehouse rates Joined Independent National Party (also called the Greenback Party) a new political party aimed at getting the government to print more paper money Joined Independent National Party (also called the Greenback Party) a new political party aimed at getting the government to print more paper money Created farmers’ cooperatives Created farmers’ cooperatives

11 Farmers’ Cooperatives Pooled farmers’ crops and held them off the market in order to limit supply and force up prices Pooled farmers’ crops and held them off the market in order to limit supply and force up prices By working together, farmers could also negotiate better shipping and warehousing rates By working together, farmers could also negotiate better shipping and warehousing rates

12 The Grange Fails Greenback Party failed to win public support – average American didn’t trust paper money Greenback Party failed to win public support – average American didn’t trust paper money Cooperatives never grew large enough to be effective Cooperatives never grew large enough to be effective Many states did pass laws setting maximum rates for railroads, but …. Many states did pass laws setting maximum rates for railroads, but ….

13 Wabash v. Illinois Supreme Court ruled that states could not regulate railroads because the railroads were involved in interstate commerce; interstate commerce can only be regulated by federal law Supreme Court ruled that states could not regulate railroads because the railroads were involved in interstate commerce; interstate commerce can only be regulated by federal law

14 The Farmer’s Alliance Formed in 1877 in Texas Formed in 1877 in Texas By 1890 had nearly 3 million members By 1890 had nearly 3 million members Also tried to create cooperatives, but failed for many of the same reasons Also tried to create cooperatives, but failed for many of the same reasons

15 The People’s Party Founded in 1890, more commonly called the Populists Founded in 1890, more commonly called the Populists Western farmers of the Alliance decided that the changes needed to help farmers required a new political party Western farmers of the Alliance decided that the changes needed to help farmers required a new political party Southern farmers opposed a third-party because it might weaken the Democratic Party Southern farmers opposed a third-party because it might weaken the Democratic Party

16 The Subtreasury Plan Southern farmers proposed that the government set up warehouses called subtreasuries where farmers could store their surplus crops Southern farmers proposed that the government set up warehouses called subtreasuries where farmers could store their surplus crops Also wanted government to provide low-interest loans to farmers Also wanted government to provide low-interest loans to farmers Many Democratic politicians won elections in the South after promising to support the Subtreasury Plan, but then reneged Many Democratic politicians won elections in the South after promising to support the Subtreasury Plan, but then reneged

17 The Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890 Congress authorized the US Treasury to purchase 4.5 million ounces of silver per month to put more money into circulation Congress authorized the US Treasury to purchase 4.5 million ounces of silver per month to put more money into circulation Still, it wasn’t enough to ease deflation, so it didn’t help farmers Still, it wasn’t enough to ease deflation, so it didn’t help farmers

18 The Omaha Platform Called for unlimited coinage of silver at a ratio of 16 oz. of silver = 1 oz. of gold (bimetallism) Called for unlimited coinage of silver at a ratio of 16 oz. of silver = 1 oz. of gold (bimetallism) Called for federal takeover of railroads Called for federal takeover of railroads Called for a graduated income tax Called for a graduated income tax Called for tighter government regulation of banking and industries Called for tighter government regulation of banking and industries

19 A Populist Candidate for President 1892, Populists met in Omaha, NE and nominated James B. Weaver to run for President of the United States 1892, Populists met in Omaha, NE and nominated James B. Weaver to run for President of the United States Came in a distant 3 rd place in the election with only 22 electoral votes, but still a strong showing for a 3 rd party candidate Came in a distant 3 rd place in the election with only 22 electoral votes, but still a strong showing for a 3 rd party candidate

20 Panic of large railroad companies were forced into bankruptcy, triggering a collapse of the banks who had loaned the railroads money 2 large railroad companies were forced into bankruptcy, triggering a collapse of the banks who had loaned the railroads money Worst economic crisis US had experienced to that point Worst economic crisis US had experienced to that point 18% unemployment 18% unemployment

21 Treasury Crisis Panic of 1893 caused investors to cash in their government bonds for gold, draining the US gold reserve Panic of 1893 caused investors to cash in their government bonds for gold, draining the US gold reserve Congress responded by repealing the Sherman Silver Purchase Act to stop people from trading in silver for gold Congress responded by repealing the Sherman Silver Purchase Act to stop people from trading in silver for gold

22 Goldbugs vs. Silverites Repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act split the Democratic Party Repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act split the Democratic Party Goldbugs believed that US currency should be backed exclusively with gold Goldbugs believed that US currency should be backed exclusively with gold Silverites believed that coining unlimited silver would ease the economic crisis Silverites believed that coining unlimited silver would ease the economic crisis

23 Election of 1896 Populists wanted to nominate a candidate who supported silver, but Democrats beat them to the punch Populists wanted to nominate a candidate who supported silver, but Democrats beat them to the punch Faced with either supporting the Democratic candidate and giving up their 3 rd party status or nominating their own candidate and splitting the pro-silver vote, the Populists chose to support the Democrats Faced with either supporting the Democratic candidate and giving up their 3 rd party status or nominating their own candidate and splitting the pro-silver vote, the Populists chose to support the Democrats

24 William Jennings Bryan Only 36 when Democrats & Populists nominated him for president Only 36 when Democrats & Populists nominated him for president Powerful speaker who won nomination with his pro-silver “Cross of Gold” speech Powerful speaker who won nomination with his pro-silver “Cross of Gold” speech

25 The “Cross of Gold” Speech “Having behind us the producing masses of this nation and the world, supported by the commercial interests, the laboring interests and the toilers everywhere, we will answer their demand for a gold standard by saying to them: You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns; you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.” “Having behind us the producing masses of this nation and the world, supported by the commercial interests, the laboring interests and the toilers everywhere, we will answer their demand for a gold standard by saying to them: You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns; you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.”

26 Bryan’s Campaign Toured the country for weeks, giving hundreds of speeches Toured the country for weeks, giving hundreds of speeches Strongly supported in the West and South, but not by city-dwellers (who didn’t care about the silver issue) or Catholic immigrants (who didn’t like his Protestant minister style speeches) Strongly supported in the West and South, but not by city-dwellers (who didn’t care about the silver issue) or Catholic immigrants (who didn’t like his Protestant minister style speeches)

27 William McKinley’s “Front Porch” Campaign Republican candidate Republican candidate McKinley refused to travel and speak, opting instead to stay home in Ohio and let visitors come to him McKinley refused to travel and speak, opting instead to stay home in Ohio and let visitors come to him Republican Party had local Republicans campaign for McKinley instead Republican Party had local Republicans campaign for McKinley instead Won support of urban workers and big business Won support of urban workers and big business

28 William McKinley 1843 – – th President ( ) 25 th President ( ) Republican Republican Expansionist who oversaw the Spanish- American War Expansionist who oversaw the Spanish- American War Assassinated in 1901 Assassinated in 1901

29 Gold in Alaska Alaska had been purchased by US from Russia in 1867 for $7.2 million Alaska had been purchased by US from Russia in 1867 for $7.2 million Discovery of gold in 1898 boosted the nation’s gold reserves and ended the silver debate, leading to the decline of the Populist Party Discovery of gold in 1898 boosted the nation’s gold reserves and ended the silver debate, leading to the decline of the Populist Party


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