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Please write this question in your notebook How might someone like Mary Elizabeth Lease be an asset to farmers who were being ripped off?

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Presentation on theme: "Please write this question in your notebook How might someone like Mary Elizabeth Lease be an asset to farmers who were being ripped off?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Please write this question in your notebook How might someone like Mary Elizabeth Lease be an asset to farmers who were being ripped off?

2 What you farmers need to do is to raise less corn and more Hell! We want the accursed foreclosure system wiped out… We will stand by our homes and stay by our firesides by force if necessary, and we will not pay our debts to the loan-shark companies until the Gov’t pays its debts to us. Mary Elizabeth Lease

3 Farmers and the Populist Movement What economic problems did many farmers face during the late 1800s? How did farmers try to address their problems and grievances?

4 After 1792 Only gold and silver coins No paper currency

5 Union issues paper money “GREENBACKS” Civil War INFLATION PRICES UP

6 Money, money, money… Continental dollars issued to pay for the Revolutionary War Un-backed by gold or silver Inflation: people didn’t trust the money and there was a lot of it PRICES UP

7 Farmers Post-Civil War Economic Problems Farmers in bad econ. Cycle Prices for crops falling Farmers mortgage their farms to buy more land = more crops Banks foreclose on mortgages when farmers default Farmers struggle to keep their farms

8 Situation: lots of money that no-one trusts = INFLATION Gov’t Solution: take greenbacks out of circulation = less money = PRICES DOWN


10 Deflation hits farmers hard $2.00 68¢ Farmers want MORE money in circulation

11 RR Co.’s Compound Farmers’ Problems: Railroad shipping rates - the railroads gouge the farmers, especially for short hauls

12 Farmer’s Problems: 1.Deflation (falling prices) 2.Railroad shipping rates 3.Debt The result? Farmer’s organize

13 The Grange - 1867 An organization (union?) of farmers Fought the railroad, set up cooperatives, sponsor new laws Led to Farmers’ Alliances groups that sympathized with & supported farmers Membership at peak: 4,000,000 250,000 African Americans in Colored Farmers’ National Alliance

14 It is no longer a government of the people, by the people and for the people, but a government of Wall Street, by Wall Street and for Wall Street…. We went to work and plowed and planted; the rains fell, the sun shone, nature smiled, and we raised the big crop that they told us to; and what came of it? Eight- cent corn, ten-cent oats, two-cent beef and no price at all for butter and eggs - that's what came of it. Then the politicians said we suffered from over-production …The people are at bay, let the blood-hounds of money who have dogged us thus far beware.

15 The Populist Party 1892 “We seek to restore the government of the Republic to the hands of the ‘plain people’...” –People’s Party platform Goals: Lift debt burden Give people a voice

16 Increase in money supply Graduated income tax Federal loan program Popular election of Senators Single terms for President and V.P. Secret ballots Eight hour work day End to immigration Populist Party Platform

17 Populist results in their 1st election 10% of popular vote5 senators 3 governors1,500 state legislators

18 Depression of 1893 Causes: Industry over-expansion, especially railroads Shrinking federal gold reserve

19 Depression of 1893 Results: Six major railroads BANKRUPT 500 banks COLLAPSED 3,000,000 jobs LOST

20 Major Political Debate: How to Fix the Economy Gold Standard versus Bimetallism Currency backed only by gold Generally Republican, North- east, bankers and businessmen Deflation, less money, worth more, lower prices Currency backed by silver and gold Generally Democratic, South and West, farmers and laborers Inflation, more money, worth less, higher prices

21 Republicans back the gold standard Candidate: William McKinley Democrats back bimetallism Candidate: William Jennings Bryan Presidential Election 1896 Populists back bimetallism Support William Jennings Bryan

22 Gold Standard/Bimetallism splits the Populists and Democrats Gold Bug Democrats who nominate own candidate Populists who reject Democratic V.P. and nominate own Populists who reject Bryan because of V.P. William McKinley and the Gold Standard win by 500,000 votes

23 William Jennings Bryan and the Cross of Gold

24 Excerpt from Bryan’s “Cross of Gold” Speech “My friends, we shall declare that this nation is able to legislate for its own people on every question without waiting for the aid or consent of any other nation on earth…Our ancestors, when but 3 million, had the courage to declare their political independence of every other nation upon earth…

25 Shall we, their descendants, when we have grown to 70 million, declare that we are less independent than our forefathers? No, my friends, it will never be the judgment of this people. Therefore, we care not upon what lines the battle is fought. If they say bimetallism is good but we cannot have it till some nation helps us, we reply that, instead of having a gold standard because England has, we shall restore bimetallism, and then let England have bimetallism because the United States have.

26 If they dare to come out in the open field and defend the gold standard as a good thing, we shall fight them to the uttermost, having behind us the producing masses of the nation and the world. Having behind us the commercial interests and the laboring interests and all the toiling masses, we shall answer their demands 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.


28 Political cartoon referring to Bryan and his speech

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