-Supports the rights and powers of the “people” in their struggle against the “privileged elite”
- Primary objective was to stimulate minds of farmers by social, educational, and fraternal activities such as picnics, music, and lectures
- Later developed cooperatives for agricultural producers and consumers
- Slaughterhouse Case 1873: states can regulate business
- Munn vs. Illinois (1877): Supreme Court ruled a “granger law” that private property becomes subject to regulation by gov’t when the property is devoted to the public interest.
- Wabash case (1886) effectively overturned Munn decision
- Interstate Commerce Act (like Munn)
- Sherman Anti-Trust Acts
- Forbade restraint of trade
- Vague and unenforced
The cool thing about granges is that they still exist:
Greenback Labor Party (1878): Combined inflationary appeal of the earlier Greenbackers with a program for improving conditions for laborers
Farmer’s Alliances: In north and south began organizing in 1880s, increasingly voicing discontent (Three “Alliances”: Northwestern, Southern, & Colored)
- Like Grangers, sponsored social events, active politically, organized cooperatives, sought heavy regulation of railroads and manufacturers.
- Demanded subtreasury plan; when that failed it led to formation of Populist Party
Populist Party (People’s Party)
Important leaders: James B. Weaver, Mary K. Lease, Ignatius Donnelly, “Sockless” Jerry Simpson
“Ocala Holla” Omaha Platform, 1892: “Fried Green Gummy-bears Invade Really Really Silly People”
- Free Silver at 16:1: Does not succeed
- Graduated income tax: Becomes realized in the Underwood Tariff Bill of 1913
- Gov’t ownership of railroads: eventually gov’t regulates railroads (Hepburn Act of 1906)
- Initiative, Referendum & Recall: become part of La Follette’s “Wisconsin Experiment”
- Subtreasury system realized during Wilson’s presidency, 1916
- Postal savings banks: becomes realized in 1915
- Extension of credit to farmers: realized in future gov’t programs to loan $ to farmers.
Election of 1892: Populists gain a million votes for candidate James B. Weaver
Segregation and disenfranchisement of African Americans in the 1890s due to fears by white southern Democrats of African American participation in Populist politics.
Election of 1896: Populists absorbed into Democratic party led by William Jennings Bryan
“Cross of Gold” speech: Democrats want unlimited coinage of silver; Republicans seek gold standard (some silver) à Gold Standard Act of 1900/ Currency Act
-Dingley Tariff: Highest tariff in American history
Defeat of Democrats spells end of Populist movement and farmer withdrawal from political process
This breeds the Progressivists.