The Populists The Progressive Era
Thesis • Populism—of the people • Third party—brings good ideas • Populist ideas would influence Teddy Roosevelt and social reform initiatives
The Plight of the Farmers • A mechanized industry- new inventions (steel John Deere Plow) leads to greater production. • More supply, lower prices • Hurting financially
Who is the Enemy? • 1. Railroad—monopolies, dictated unfair rates • 2. Bankers—held mortgages and foreclosed on farms. • Gold Standard * • 3. Taxes—Farmers had to pay property taxes on land, regardless of whether they made money • 4. Tariffs—protected manufacturers from foreign competition but did not protect farmers
Farmer Organiztion • Farmers formed an organization—known as Populists • Met in Omaha, Nebraska 1892 • Devised the “Omaha Platform” • A union of working classes • Nationalization of railroads • Nationalization of all communication systems • Bimetallism • Graduated Income tax • Direct election of senators • No more ownership of land by those who do not actually use it.
The Populist Party—a National Force • 1896 Democrats nominated Populist William Jennings Bryan of Nebraska to run on their ticket
What is Bimetallism? • Money was backed in gold • This limits the amount of money—Banks reluctant to give loans • Wanted money also backed in silver—increase money in circulation-reduce debt
Cross of Gold Speech • "you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold"