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Politics dominated by Republican Party: congress takes over after Johnson’s impeachment. In reality, both parties are mostly the same. They are both corrupt and are blaming each other for things. True radicalism comes from the country and the farmers. What we see is a revolt from thetwo political parties and the rise of a third party to challenge the other parties. Republicans: GOP, “The Union,” Big Business, Anglo Saxon Protestant: the party ofLincoln and big business. They have protestant values and are going after the south, Mormons, trying to restrict working conditions and limit immigration. Democrats: “The South,” States’ Rights, Immigrants: party of slavery, laize faire. The party of “social undesirables”. New immigrants and Mormons and Catholics flock to this party.II. Agrarian Unrest, 1870-1890s: share farmers and the trap that they get into. Post Civil-War Agriculture:Sharecropping and homesteading: no one really owns their own land, they are sharecroppers. Expansion into arid West, 1870s: homestead act: the government gives out land for free. They have to settle it, farm it, and then after five years they can own the land for themselves.Collapse, 1880s: everything is going great and then the rain suddenly stops. 70% of the farmers pull back east and abandon what they have done. They leave their farms and are left with a lot of debt. They come to realize that they have no hope and they are small businessmen trying to offer the farm but have little or no control over everything that happens; the cost, the weather, how much crop they will get, the timing of the selling of their grains. If everyone is selling at the same time, then the price of the product goes down. If they could wait until March the price of their goods would go down. They are feeding the system and the corporations are getting the profit of all of their hard work. 75% of their goods are becoming exports but they aren’t seeing hardly any of that profit. They see that they were holding the nation together, but now they have industries and they aren’t needed as much as before. They realize that they need to get organized and have a voice in DC.31
*Farmers as small businessmen/women with little control.*Agrarian myth but industrial reality.III. Agrarian Political Organization:1. The Grange 1870s, “Patrons of Husbandry”: ideal of themselves as founders of the republic. It is a social vehicle for farmers to go around and distribute information with each other. They eventually get into politics. Try to wake up farmers, through their newspaper, and letthem know that they need to take control and figure out how to have a voice. They set up cooperative stores to store grain and seeds for the next season. As the economy and environment collapses, new organizations emerge to take a bigger stand.2. The Populists, 1880s-1906*emerged from regional groups: Southern Farmers’ Alliance, NW Farmers’ Alliance and Colored Farmers’ Natl. Alliance.