Presentation on theme: "What is a Populist?. Farmers: Where it all began. In the late 1800’s farmers were trapped in a vicious economic cycle. Prices for crops falling. Mortgaged."— Presentation transcript:
Farmers: Where it all began. In the late 1800’s farmers were trapped in a vicious economic cycle. Prices for crops falling. Mortgaged their farms to buy more land and produce more crops. Could not pay back loans. Sound familiar? Railroad companies overcharging them for shipping.
It’s the Economy, Stupid. Civil War, U.S. Govt. issued $500 million in Greenbacks (paper money). Greenbacks were worth less because they could not be exchanged to gold and silver. So, they retired the greenbacks.
What is wrong with this picture? If you retire greenbacks, the money in circulation is worth more. HOWEVER… Our farmer friends who mortgaged their farms now had to pay back the loans in dollars that were worth more than the dollars they had borrowed. At the same time, they were receiving less money for their crops. Meanwhile, farmers paid outrageously high prices to transport grain via railroads.
Oliver Hudson Kelley and the Grange. 1867: Kelley starts the Patrons of Husbandry, an organization for farmers that became known as the Grange. Farmers Alliances- the Grange gave rise to these alliances that sympathized with farmers and sent lectures from town to town to educate people. Membership soon grew to 4 million!
Power to the People! Alliance movement needed a political base. In July of 1892 in Omaha, NE, the Populist People’s Party was born. They demanded a greater voice of the people in government and reforms to lift the farmers burden of debt.
Populist Party Platform Increase in money supply Graduated income tax Federal loan program Election of U.S. senators by popular vote & single term for the President. Eight-hour workday Restrictions on Immigration
Panic of 1893 Farmers were overburdened with debt and failed to pay back their loans. In February 1893, the Philadelphia, Reading, Erie, Northern Pacific, Union Pacific, and the Santa Fe railroads all went bankrupt. People rushed to exchange their paper money for gold sending the stock market crashing. By the end of the year, over 15,000 businesses and 500 banks had collapsed! Sound familiar? By 1894, over one-fifth of the workforce was unemployed.
When the banker says he's broke And the merchant’s up in smoke, They forget that it's the farmer who feeds them all. It would put them to the test If the farmer took a rest; Then they'd know that it's the farmer feeds them all. Written by a Farmer at the end of the 19 th Century.
Gold BugsSilverites Who Bankers and businessmenFarmers and laborers What 1.backing dollars solely by gold 2. Less money in circulation 1.backing currency with either silver of gold 2. More money in circulation Why Loans would be repaid in stable money Products would be sold at higher prices Effects Deflation: 1.Prices fall 2.Value of money increases 3.Fewer people have money Inflation: 1.Prices rise 2.Value of money decreases 3.More people have money
The Candidates Election of 1896: Republicans elect an Ohioan, William McKinley. Democratic party elected William Jennings Bryan, whom the Populists also supported.
Bryan and the “Gold Cross” Democratic Convention Speech by Bryan Won him the nomination by the democrats and supported by the farmers.
Political campaigning has not changed much from 1896 to 2008…
All Good Things Must End McKinley’s victory over William Jennings Bryan brought Populism to an end. Why? The economy experienced rapid change. The era of small producers and farmers was fading away. Race divided the Populist Party, especially in the South. The Populists were not able to break existing party loyalties.
However… Populism lives on The movement left two powerful legacies: The oppressed could organize and have a political impact. An agenda of reforms, many of which would be enacted in the 20 th century.