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FARMERS UNITE: The Grange and the Populist Movement.

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Presentation on theme: "FARMERS UNITE: The Grange and the Populist Movement."— Presentation transcript:

1 FARMERS UNITE: The Grange and the Populist Movement

2 I.Problems farmers faced in the late 1800s A. Economic distress 1. Greenback dollars that were issued during the Civil War were taken out of circulation, causing money backed by gold to be worth more 2. Farmers who had taken out loans had to pay back money in dollars that were worth more than the dollars they had borrowed. 3. Crop prices fell (in 1867 a bushel of wheat fell from $2.00 to $0.67) 4. Farmers had to borrow money to pay for their mortgages, and often got caught in a vicious cycle of debt B. Railroads charged OUTRAGEOUS rates to ship crops to market (monopolies could set their rates)

3 II.Farmers’ Alliances A. The government was unresponsive to the plight of farmers B. The Grange 1. Formed in 1867 by Oliver Hudson Kelley 2. Worked to sponsor laws to regulate railroads 3. Educated farmers about low interest loans 4. Membership grew to 4 million—mostly in South and West

4 C. Mary E. Lease—an outspoken speaker who worked to get the message out to farmers and gain support “ 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 Government Pays its debts to us.”

5 III. Populist Party A. Grassroots political party that grew out of the farmers’ alliances B. Populist Party Platform (demands for change) 1. Increase in the money supply (would cause a rise in prices 2. A graduated income tax (tax would be based on the amount of money you made) 3. A federal loan program 4. Direct election of U.S. Senators 5. Secret ballot 6. Eight hour workday

6 IV.Debate over the Gold Standard A. Depression of 1893 B. Gold Standard—our money was backed by gold, Republicans wished to continue this system C. The Populists supported Bimetalism, or backing the dollar with either gold or silver (and free coinage of silver) 1. Would make the money worth less 2. Would put more money into circulation D. William Jennings Bryan 1. Democratic nominee for President in 1896 2. Supported bimetalism 3. Supported by the Populists 4. McKinley, the Republican candidate won the election, and Populism collasped

7 William Jennings Bryan’s Cross of Gold Speech “ We will answer their demands for the gold standard by saying to them: You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross Of gold ” —Democratic Convention 1896

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