An Analysis Of The Populist Party's Premature Fall Into Obscurity.

958 words - 4 pages

An Analysis of the Populist Party's Premature Fall into ObscurityQuestion: After its startling successes of the late 1880's and early 1890's, why did the Populist Party quickly fade into oblivion after 1896?Key Words: Analyze - examine the motives; answer the questionTime Period: 1880's-1900Geography: United States of America, specifically the MidwestType of History: Political, EconomicalThesis: While a number of factors contributed to the demise of the Populist Party, the failed election of 1896 played an integral role in its fall due to the party's inability to find a strong figurehead.Outline:I.IntroductionA.Background informationB.Thesis: While a number of factors contributed to the demise of the Populist Party, the failed election of 1896 played an integral role in its fall due to the party's inability to find a strong figurehead.II.BodyA.The formation of the Populist PartyB.Agricultural issuesC.The silver issueD.The Election of 1896E.The party's demiseIII.ConclusionA.Restatement of thesisB.LinkageTowards the end of the 19th Century, agricultural discontent was growing among the nation's farmers. In the South, cotton that was selling for roughly 30 cents per pound after the Civil War was, at times, worth under six cents in the 1890's. Wheat from the Midwest that had sold at $1.50 per bushel after the Civil War brought in 60 cents in the 1890's. The nation's agricultural base was tired of getting the raw deal from politicians, and finally made their voice heard through the Populist Party. When it first stepped onto the public stage, the party was very successful. However, the success was relatively short lived. While a number of factors contributed to the demise of the Populist Party, the failed election of 1896 played an integral role in its fall due to its inability to find a strong figurehead.The Populist Party formed from Alliances that had come from farm radicalism. Many of the Alliances were statewide, and most formed in the late 1870's. Eventually, using the success of minor farm groups who had won elections, the Populist Party formed from southern and western farmers. Although there was a large group of northerners that was sympathetic to the party, it still tended to vote Republican.The party's first convention, held in Omaha, Nebraska, brought in a variety of groups, including the Knights of Labor. The People's (Populist) Party was trying to attract anyone and everyone to join its cause. General James B. Weaver of Iowa was nominated for President, and his running mate was a Confederate veteran. The party's platform was very widespread, and it bordered on socialistic. The platform included graduated income tax, national ownership of utilities, a subtreasury, and bimetallism. To please industrial workers, the party also advocated eight hour workdays, restriction of "undesirable" immigration, and it also shunned Pinkerton detectives.The party's main supporters were still, however, the farmers. In order to raise prices on agricultural...

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