Farmer's Grievances and Populism

Farmer's Grievances and Populism - Farmer's Grievances and...

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Farmer’s Grievances and Populism The Agrarian Crisis- lot of problems with agriculture, 2 major problems- 1)mother nature not kind to them, 1860-1900, plagues of grasshoppers, boll weevle, drought, start putting money into irrigation projects, 2) overproduction, by making more product, price lowers, 1870-90, American farmers produced more wheat than people could eat, 3 times as much, 1865- a bushel of wheat cost 1.50, 1894- a bushel cost .48, cotton drops 60%, The Farmers’ Problems- banking and railroads, symbols of American greed, but they give the farmers problems, Banking – when land is foreclosed on, they stay, cause the bank wants someone to work the land, are a tenant on their own land, majority of farmers in south are sharecroppers and tenant croppers, by 1890 25% of all farmers in Kansas were tenant and share croppers, 10% in South Dakota, people forced into sharecropping and tenant cropping don’t have enough money for tools, food, supplies, they have to go to a furnishing agent, this person furnishes sharecroppers and tenants with the things that they need, tools, seeds, food, and those products are basically a loan, at the end of the harvest season, they have to pay this debt as well, if you’re a sharecropper, after paying off they sharecropper has about ¼ of their crop, in drought, you might not have enough and might not be able to pay and will continue to be in debt, furnishing agent sometimes charge huge interest rates, up to 60%, banks charge lower interest rates but are less forgiving, if you get into debt with landowner, finishing agent, or bank, you can very quickly become bankrupt and in debt, and locked into a cycle of debt to the land, many are black, keeps them on the land, banks are unpopular because they have a dual policy, they charge higher interests, terms are also worse, double standard, some of these problems do seem unfair Railroads- same issues as bank, sometimes more vital to farmers, can’t get the goods to market without railroad, one problem is the dual policy they have as well, farmers usually ship a short distance and goods don’t weigh that much, industries tend to ship far distances that weigh a lot, farmers get charged more nonetheless, other big industries are linked, railroads pay industries kickbacks- paybacks, to get them to use their railroad, the farmers are paying that kickback, farmers have a lot of trouble with this dual policy, another issue railroads are steel track with big steel wheels, sometimes they start fires, and burn crops, as things get bad, they come to see the businesses and banks in conspiracy to hurt American farmers, government maintain a very off-hands approach to it, little government involvement, didn’t really want to do anything to help farmers out, government does try to control inflation, amount of money in currency should
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match amount of gold, if you have a greenback, you can take it to the bank and receive that much money in gold, after Civil War, take greenbacks out of
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Farmer's Grievances and Populism - Farmer's Grievances and...

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