Origins of Populist Movement Populists saw themselves as a victimized majority –Ambivalent about free enterprise system –Attributed social and economic injustices not to built in inequities but to nefarious conspiracies…Who?
With a group, list his problems and answer Q… 10 minutes The Farmer’s problems are 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. etc ? How does the platform of Ocala address these?
Organizations behind Populism National Grange aka Patrons of Husbandry –1870s agricultural depression –Cooperatives –Granger cases, ‘77,’86 fighting for better rates Southern Alliance: out of TX 1877; others –Colored Farmers Alliance Northern Alliance - founded Illinois 1880 – renamed National Farmers’ Alliance Set up stores, cooperatives Differences prohibited unified organization Southerners Meet: Ocala, Florida –Enter Alliance candidates in 1890 elections
Populist Party Platform Omaha 1892: If I Only Had a Brain If I Only Had a BrainIf I Only Had a Brain 1.Inflation by adding silver to the coinage and backing of currency – 16:1 2.Government ownership of RR’s and utilities 3.Graduated income tax 4.Lower tariffs 5.Saving accounts at Post offices 6.A subtreasury system in which the government does banking 7.Limiting immigration 8.8 hour workday 9.Direct election of Senators and terms limits of politicians 10.Initiative and referendum 11.Secret ballot system
1890 Farmers Alliance reborn as Populist Movement
The Money Supply Traditionally, U.S. was on bimetallic standard with the number of grains of each in a dollar adjusted periodically California gold rush had depressed the price of gold The Coinage Act of 1873 or “Crime of ’73” Silver mines in Nevada, Colorado are hurt Thus: Miners and farmers and inflationists versus eastern conservatives
Silverites v. Goldbugs Search for compromise… –National Greenback Party –1878 Bland-Allison Act: authorized purchase of between $2 and $4 million of silver a month Hayes veto but override purchased minimum Commercial price of silver declined –Sen. Sherman gets a law…or two greenbacks became redeemable in gold –1890 Sherman Silver Purchase Act: A deal in exchange for raising tariffs - McKinley Tariff required govt to buy 4.5 million OUNCES of silver /mo So silver mines overproduced & silver prices fell
Trouble for Republicans McKinley Tariff unpopular Harrison vetoes extra money for farmers Billion Dollar Congress Harrison 1890: Lose Congress –Ocala Demands…
The Populists are Born: Omaha Rerun election: Harrison v. Cleveland – versus… General James Weaver (Iowa) –Mary Elizabeth Lease –Tom Watson, Georgia –“Sockless Jerry” Simpson, Kansas –Ignatius Donnelly, Minnesota Weaver
Populists disappointed 1892 –Cleveland won the election by 277 electoral votes to Harrison’s 145 and Weaver’s 22 – Populists swept Kansas and elected local officials in a number of western states But Kansas House ends up a mess: “Whats the Matter with Kansas?” writes editor William Allen White Key leaders: Donnelly and Watson lose reelections –Failed to unite white and black southerners –But the money issue becomes central follow the yellow brick road to 1896
The Panic of 1893 For some farmers struggle began in the 1880’s Bankrupt: 1893 - Major British bank, Baring Bros. led to financial panic worldwide US RR Construction was slowing Hundreds of textile mills and factories closed, millions lost jobs (20% in some cities) ¼ of RR’s went bankrupt Hardship in winter ’93-94 So: Cleveland blames it partly on silver Congress repeals Sherman Silver Purchase Act
Cleveland seemed callous… Pullman Strike in Chicago ‘ 94 –Sent in 2000 soldiers –In solidarity, the ARU refuses to moves trains –Att Gen. Olney gets injunction over mail -Debs denied habeas corpus by SC -Coxey’s Army
Jacob Coxey’s Industrial Army 1894 –Coxey’s “Army” of 500 –Also from Midwest, Dakotas, Rocky Mtns, Oregon, Washington!! –Demand work programs from govt You’re not in Kansas Anymore
Honest Workmen or Tramps? –Enroute, city officials in places as far off as Portland Oregon had considered arresting the vagrants who gathered en masse –Cleveland has three leaders arrested –Baton wielding police removed others from Capitol grounds.
Portland Mayor and Leader Kain argue merits of the march… Kain: "We have been living all winter on Salvation Army soup tickets; we are tired of that. We want work, work, sir — at honest wages — at wages on which we can support a family.” Strong: "Why all this aimless traveling about the country? And what are you doing here?” Kain: “We are headed to Washington, D.C.,for the purpose of showing the national authorities the actual condition of the unemployed in this country. We are starving in a land of plenty! Why?” Strong: [You are a collection of] organized vagrants for the purpose of terrorizing the community." Palmateer, Dimitri. “Charity and the Tramp.” Oregon Historical Quarterly, 2006. Vol. 107.2 http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/ohq/107.2/palmateer.html
1895 Goldbug Cleveland turns to… JP for Help US Gold Reserves fell –$100 mill. was needed –Get more gold or… JP Morgan serves the US…?
Depression and “Army” Hurt the (ahem) Wizard’s Standing 1894 Republicans win back Congress in mid-term elections –Dems split –Western/Southern farmers turn toward Populists
Adding to it all…the Courts reacted with decisions that rocked the political landscape… 1895: Supreme Court decisions –United States v. E.C. Knight Company. –Pollock v. Farmers’ Loan and Trust Company –Denied a writ of habeas corpus to Gene Debs
“It Has Been Going on Fifty Years Too Long, but Will It Be Stopped March 3, 1897?” “John Bull’s Little Game” St Louis Post- Dispatch Sept. 1896
1896: Gold versus Silver Republicans announced for the gold standard William McKinley of Ohio Democrats repudiated Cleveland - Called for free and unlimited coinage of silver - William Jennings Bryan of Nebraska Pressured, Populists also nominated Bryan Tom Watson of GA as vice-president
Campaign 1896: William McKinley Managed by Mark Hanna The Front porch campaign Dollar Mark Organizes –Less patronage from govt appointees –Newspapers press for frankness –Big business wants to temper calls for regulation New fundraising: $3.5 million dollars –banks, insurance companies and big corporations –1500 speakers/ 250 mill pieces of literature
William Jennings Bryan: The Great Commoner 1860-1925 The Lion that roared… “He is an exceedingly pleasant talker, and is fond of dealing in well- rounded phrases. His speeches abound with poetry. He is of Irish extraction, but his people have lived in this country for more than a hundred years. In religion he is a Presbyterian, but believes in an entire separation of Church and State.” Great Leaders and National Issues of 1896Great Leaders and National Issues of 1896, published during the campaign. Such biographies were popular to introduce politicians.
The “Cross of Gold Speech” “…You come to us and tell us that the great cities are in favor of the gold standard; we reply that the great cities rest upon our broad and fertile prairies. Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic; but destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country…”
The Last Paragraph Got ‘Em Screamin’ “If they say bimetallism is good, but that we cannot have it until other nations help us, we reply, that instead of having a gold standard because England has, we will restore bimetallism, and then let England have bimetallism because the United States has it. If they dare to come out in the open field and defend the gold standard as a good thing, we will fight them to the uttermost. 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!”
“The Silver Candle and the Moths” Judge Magazine July 1896
Election of 1896: The Realignment McKinley 271 to Bryan 176 elect. votes
William McKinley: Why does he represent “modern” and “progress”? A modern president –Republicans are steady progress, the future party –Prods Republicans into considering regulating business –But higher tariffs –Rides in a car! –Talks to reporters more than others had –Spanish American War 1898 –1900 new VP, young man… –Pan-American Exposition Buffalo Sept 6 1901
Does Littlefield’s essay convince you that the Wizard of Oz is a good parable of Populism? Who is the tin man ?