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“I Ain’t Gonna Work on Maggie’s Farm No More”: The Rise of Populism Chapter 8, Section 3 October 3, 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "“I Ain’t Gonna Work on Maggie’s Farm No More”: The Rise of Populism Chapter 8, Section 3 October 3, 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 “I Ain’t Gonna Work on Maggie’s Farm No More”: The Rise of Populism Chapter 8, Section 3 October 3, 2010

2 POPULISM Finally, people (especially farmers) are getting fed up with a government that they don’t believe is making their lives better and catering to big business. POPULISM was the movement to increase farmers’ political power and to work for legislation in their interest.

3 Why are farmers having problems? 1) Crop prices drop because of technology (Higher supply means lower demand and price). 2) High tariffs make it hard for farmers to sell goods overseas. 3) Railroads are overcharging and making it difficult to ship goods. 4) DEFLATION

4 INFLATION and DEFLATION During the Civil War, the government needs to increase the MONEY SUPPLY. They produce “Greenbacks” – paper money without gold or silver backing. This causes INFLATION – the value of money goes DOWN, and prices go UP. After the Civil War, the U.S. stops printing greenbacks and stops using SILVER to back the dollar. This leads to DEFLATION – the value of money goes UP, and the price of goods goes DOWN.

5 DEFLATION HURTS FARMERS Farmers have to borrow $$ for seed and supplies. Farmers owe more because interest rates RISE. They also bought farm equipment at INFLATED prices. However, crop prices fall, so farmers are making less profit. Farmers want INFLATION again – using Greenbacks and silver to back the dollar. Realize that, like factory workers, they needed to ORGANIZE.

6 THE GRANGE 1867 – Farmers organize a group known as THE GRANGE. Grange grows quickly in the 1870s. The Grange helps farmers create COOPERATIVES. Cooperatives helped farmers keep crop prices higher, and helped them order supplies in bulk. The Grange and their cooperatives are ultimately UNSUCCESSFUL.

7 The People’s Party (Populists) Farmers soon realize that they need to be active POLITICALLY to get things done. Farmers feel like government is taking care of BIG BUSINESS, not them. In1877, the Farmers’ Alliance is formed and spreads to many states. Some alliance members begin a new POLITICAL PARTY, known as the People’s Party (or Populists). They begin to run candidates in elections.

8 POPULISTS’ DEMANDS The Populists wanted: –Free coinage of silver (to increase the money supply) –An end to protective tariffs –Better RR regulation –Direct election of senators –A graduated income tax –The Populists gain support in the WEST and in the SOUTH.

9 SHERMAN SILVER PURCHASE ACT In 1890, Republicans get worried that farmers will start voting for the Populist party. They pass the Sherman Silver Purchase Act to buy silver and put more $$ into circulation. It reduces deflation some, but doesn’t help the farmers enough.

10 Election of 1892 By 1892, the Populists decide to run a candidate for PRESIDENT. They select James B. Weaver to run. Weaver loses, but gets more votes than expected.

11 PANIC of 1893 Nation gets into worst economic depression it had ever experienced to this point. Railroads go bankrupt, can’t pay loans, Wall Street suffers, and banks close.

12 GOLDBUGS and SILVERITES Cleveland REPEALS the Sherman Silver Act. The U.S. gold reserves are at a low level. –GOLDBUGS: Wanted U.S. currency only based on gold –SILVERITES: People who thought coining silver should be allowed. Some Democrats are Goldbugs and some are silverites

13 ELECTION of 1896 Populists want to get the vote of the SILVERITES from the Democrats. The Democrats steal the Populists’ thunder, however, and nominate the pro- silver WILLIAM JENNINGS BRYAN. Republicans nominate WILLIAM McKINLEY. Populists eventually decide to support Bryan.

14 William Jennings Bryan

15 Bryan was a great ORATOR. He gave famous speeches about the need to coin silver. The most famous of these is known as the “CROSS OF GOLD” speech. Bryan goes across the country to speak, but McKinley stays around Ohio. Because of the economic depression and big business support, McKinley wins easily.

16 Populism Fades Out After the Election of 1896, the Populist party declines. The U.S. officially adopts a GOLD-BASED currency in 1900.

17 William Jennings Bryan Who? William Jennings Bryan What? 1896 Presidential candidate for Populists and Democrats When? 1896 Where? From Nebraska How? Campaigned across the United States giving speeches (“Cross of Gold.”) Huge proponent of free coinage of silver. So What? Lost to William McKinley. His defeat was a huge blow to farmers and begins the decline of the Populist party.

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