The Influence Of The Populist Platform On America

1404 words - 6 pages

After the civil war, especially during the late 1800s, the US industrial economy has been thriving and booming which reflected on the numerous improvements that occurred in transportation through new railroad, in new markets for new invented goods and in the increased farm yield. However, most of this wealth has been captured by the capitalists, they looked down on the working poor class and expected them to submit to them. Also, they had control over the government seeking to maintain a system of monopoly to allow them to grow richer from others. Thus, they were controlling both political and economic conditions of the country.
Nevertheless, this social injustice was the reason that leads to the farmers’ Revolt, seeking to remedy their condition. In the late 1870s, an alliance has been founded in forty-three states that afterwards developed into a political party the populists. The party’s goal was to replace the democrats (capitalists) as the nation’s second party and being able to return the stolen privileges and rights of the poor producing class. By 1892 the party issued a document called the platform. It addressed the farmers’ nation and their conditions. Also, it “put forth a long list of proposals to restore democracy and economic opportunity”(Foner, 2013,p.642) and to create the social conditions of freedom.

The smallholders (farmers) were in “the midst of a nation brought to the verge of moral, political and material ruin” (Foner, 2013,p.642). They have been faced by numerous struggles politically as well as economically. To begin with, they were denied the right to direct vote and choose a representative to remedy their problems. Corruption has manifested through the congress and legislatures. The capitalists have stolen their freedom of speech and silenced the public opinion through controlling the newspapers that were owned by the capitalists and the corrupted government.

They were looked down upon, they did not have a secured job or income, and they did not even have protection for themselves as individuals. Furthermore, “the fruit of the toil of millions are boldly stolen to build up colossal fortunes for few” while their “possessors despise the republic and endanger liberty”. (Foner, 2013,p.642) Moreover, the increase in interests and the lack credit contributed in killing farmers’ chances of being independent and having a secure income since most farmers were in debts to be able to but the bare necessities and to sustain their farms from harvest to harvest. Due to the global decline in agricultural prices, they were forced to sell the crops at the lowest prices and since the railroads were privately owned, the costs to transport the products were high to make any profit or break even. Additionally, the new effective monetary policy had its negative effects as well; it demonetized silver that was regarded as coin and a payment for goods and services.
In addition, to those miserable conditions that farmers suffered...

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