Populist Party and its Development Period Essay Example


The rise of the Populist party was mainly propelled by the efforts from the Framer’s Alliance and the Grange.  Their overall goal when dealing with the structure of surrounding agriculture was to improve the conditions of the farmers in the country. It was deemed a political movement and in order to push those policies forward with the help of a newly created party known as “The people’s party” founded in 1891.  Coupled with the efforts from the labor movement, the Populists party incorporated itself with the Democratic party in 1896 giving new representation for the working class farmers.

During the late nineteenth century, farmers began to recognize that their interests were not aligned with those of what we would call today, the corporate sector. As they held the “working class” title by being the ones actually performing back breaking work, work that allowed banks and other institutions to raise capital. However, they discovered that their labour output did not equate to the level income that they received.  Due to having to take out loans from said banks in order to obtain the framing tools needed, farmers often found themselves in debt.  These farmers began to recognize that the loan system was unfair when their crop yield was nowhere near enough to pay off loans along with following interest rates. Difficult loan term agreements also affected some farmers when cotton prices crashed leaving farmers with a minute chance of paying off loans.  In a system that doesn’t allow you to pay back interest loans in a reasonable amount of time forces farmers to collectively organize in order to defend their rights from banking institutions.  The combination of high interest rates and an increase in non-land owning farmers created the Farmer’s Alliance to help prevent throwing more farmers into poverty.  The Farmer’s Alliance was not the only activist group to be organized, the National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, called Grange which actively propelled involvement of members due to the Panic of 1873. The Panic of 1873 further decreased wages for farmers while simultaneously increasing their poorly managed debts because of bank failures leading to bankruptcy. 

To satisfy the broken hearts and pockets of the farmers in the nation's agricultural sector the People's Party was formed in 1891. Along with support from the Farmer’s Alliance the People's party elected the great James B. Weaver, formally known as a US representative from the state of Iowa, as their future president. President Weaver had an unbiased “us versus them” mentality that carried throughout his campaign pushing for the dismantling of corporate power of big businesses.  As well as the deconstruction  of the monopolistic nature of big banking institutions, the same bank systems that lead to the majority of the colaspinsing railroad projects throughout America.  Here dawns new life for states like Nevada, Kansas, Idaho, and Colorado while President Weaver helps carry them up into the eight plus percentile of the popular vote. 

However, the Populist movement's success in the political sector soon became its undoing, from combined effects of the democratic party. As time went on the new President elect named William Jennings Bryan was almost nominated although fully backed by the Populists support group causing it to be thrusted into the mainstream. This caused the People’s Party to be consolidated more into the democartic party, thrusting the democratic party into the forefront while pulling back the underlying issue of racism in the south. Now incorporating the issues of racism into the already complicated realm of social economics dealing with the attempt to fix the farming and banking industry. The Populist movement had inner conflict on whether or not to include African Americans into the People’s Party as well as the Democartic Party in the name of fair representation.

Both the self help programs that the government provided and the will of the working American class somehow intertwined and in turn forced pressure to reach both the political parties in Congress that were not adopting the demands of the workers creating more conflict. Both parties of the Republican and Democrat state at a federal level refused to respond to the needs of the farmer, forced a third-party being the populists  within the gilded age party system and prepared America for changes in the government fundamental to the accomplishment of agricultural advancement after the century was done. 

The demands of the populist People’s party was simple in order to revive the agriculture of America it became clear that the political and economic restraints put on farmers were restricted by the invisible hand of the government and big business. Populists' demands stated simply that they wanted to regress all protective tariffs on manufactured goods, dismantle national banking systems as well as demolishing federal income tax which many of us can get behind even today. I personally believe income tax is theft, you can convince me that other taxes are necessary but if someone works for their entire check for their 50+ hours a week that the government has the right to take that away from you. The government wasn’t standing there in the fields helping those farmers dig holes or lift those pales of cotton.  Populists parties believe there’s no reason that the government should take a chunk of their income on top of having to pay back undesirable loans and interest rates. Most importantly the Party believed in abandoning its laissez faire and taking responsibility for the average American worker basic concept we know as today as healthcare or insurance, not specifically but along those lines.

In conclusion I feel like overall that People’s party stood more for everyone including African-Americans. The moment that the People’s party combined themselves with the Democratic Party I feel like the Democratic Party pushed them out on the basis that they did not want to include African-Americans in the representation efforts against the elite banking system and corporations. So instead of the opportunity that the Democratic party had on doubling its numbers in followers and votes they decided to defuse the People’s Party. Preventing them from growing acceptance across America solely on the reasoning that they did not want to give slaves representation and acknowledgment that they are also considered farmers.  The original pioneers of the People’s party like James Weaver and William Bryan best represented the ideals and demands of what the party stood for at the time as a whole.

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