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Unformatted text preview: The Agrarian Rebellion
Reminder: No discussion sections this week, no paper. There is a study guide.
Next week: Your essay will be on the question, “Where in the World do you come from?” I’ll be visiting sections next week.
Extra Credit papers will be returned on Wed. Changes in Agriculture
Became more commercial Problems for Southern Farmers
South remained rural. It was 17% urban in 1900 compared with the North which was 58.6% urban.
Per capita wealth in the South in 1880: $376. Rest of country: $870. Agricultural Statistics
1860 1870 1880 1890 1900 # of Farms
(millions 20 27 40 56 57 Gross Farm Product
(billions in 1910 $) 2.2 2.6 3.9 4.6 5.8 Gross Farm Product/
(1910 $) 332 362 439 456 526 Problems Faced by Farmers
From subsistence to commercial farming
Cash crop dependency
Southern Cotton Crop
1890 8.6 million bales $429 million
1891 9 million bales $ 391million
The “crop lien” system: the “furnishing man”
Currency problems: the Gold Standard and the lack of cash for farmers. The Movement Begins
Difficulty of building a social movement, esp among dispersed, diverse (Southern and Midwestern, black and white) rural people
Intensely strong party loyalties
The dividing line of race The Alliance System, began in
Texas in 1877
Texas The Movement Culture of the
Alliance Colored Farmers Alliance: R. N.
Humphrey Tom Watson, Georgia Watson on the need for a biracial
“Suppose two tenants on my farm; one of them white, the other black. They cultivate their crops under precisely the same conditions. Their labors, discouragements, burdens, grievances, are the same.
Cannot these two men act together in peace…?” “Sockless” Jerry Simpson: Member
of Congress: 1890-94, 1896-98
of Key ideas of the Alliance System
Economic thought should not be the preserve of the wealthy and highly educated. Ordinary people could learn about it too. “Bulking”
The Federal SubTreasury Plan
“Producerism”: idea that those who work with their hands have a special place in the Republic Strengths and Weaknesses
The “paranoid style”a “vast conspiracy” Difficulty of farmerworker alliance
New coalitions of “producers”
Provided a new language for politicians, and made many enduring suggestions. Farmers Move into Politics
In 1890, farmers elected 5 US Senators, 6 Governors, and 46 Congressmen through the Farmers’ Alliance. Encouraged by this, the 3 major Farmers’ organizations held a convention in Omaha, Nebraska in 1892. Omaha Platform Preamble (Doc
We meet in the midst of a nation brought to the verge of moral, political, and material ruin. Corruption dominates…. The people are demoralized…..The newspapers are largely subsidized or muzzled, public opinion silenced, business prostrated, homes covered with mortgages, labor impoverished, and the land concentrating in the hands of capitalists. The urban workmen are denied the right to organize for selfprotection…and they are rapidly degenerating into European conditions. Omaha Platform, 1892
“The fruits of the toil of millions are boldly stolen to build up the fortunes for a few, unprecedented in the history of mankind; and the possessors of these, in turn, despise the Republic and endanger liberty. From the same prolific womb of governmental injustice we breed the two great classes – tramps and millionaires. “
Silver, which has been accepted as coin since the dawn of history, has been demonetized to add to the purchasing power of gold by decreasing the value of all forms of property as well as human labor, and the supply of currency is purposely abridged to fatten usurers, bankrupt enterprise, and enslave industry. A vast conspiracy against mankind has been organized on two continents, and it is rapidly taking possession of the world. If not met and overthrown at once it forebodes terrible social convulsions, the destruction of civilization, or the establishment of an absolute despotism. Omaha Platform, Cont’d
A permanent union of all working classes
Government ownership of railroads and all communication systems
More flexible and fair distribution of the national currency
No more ownership of land by those who do not actually use it James B. Weaver Election of 1892 William Jennings Bryan: Election of
1896 The Cross of Gold Speech Bryan’s Speech You come to us and tell us that the great cities are in favor of the gold standard; we reply that the great cities rest upon our broad and fertile prairies. Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic; but destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country. Bryan’s Conclusion
If they dare to come out in the open field and defend the gold standard as a good thing, we will fight them to the uttermost. Having behind us the producing masses of this nation and the world, supported by the commercial interests, the laboring interests, and the toilers everywhere, we will answer their demand for a gold standard by saying to them: You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify man upon a cross of gold. William McKinley Election cartoon from Harpers
Harpers Election of 1896 Quick and surprising end of
Discovery of gold in Alaska
Many of the movement’s ideas were incorporated into the Progressive movement, as we’ll see on Wednesday. ...
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This note was uploaded on 06/13/2011 for the course HIST 112 taught by Professor Littlefield during the Fall '08 term at South Carolina.
- Fall '08