Populism and Protest

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Populism and Protest

In depth look at the harsh conditions facing farmers during the Gilded Age and the election of 1896.

Lecture number:
Lecture Note
Texas A&M University
Hist 106 - History Of The U S

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HIST 106 1st Edition Lecture 5 Outline of Last Lecture  The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 • The Second Industrial Revolution • America’s Growth • The Expansion of the Railroads • Cornelius Vanderbilt and the railroads • Andrew Carnegie and Vertical Integration • John D. Rockefeller and Horizontal Integration • Gilded Age Ideas of Wealth • Survival of the Fittest • Laissez-faire Capitalism • Conspicuous Consumption • Labor in the Gilded Age • Changes between Employers and Employees • Knights of Labor • Haymarket Square Bombing • American Federation of Labor Outline of Current Lecture 1. The Plight of the Farmers a. 19th c. Farmers’ Worldview b. Growth of Sharecropping and Tenant Farming c. Problems in the Agricultural System i. Crop-lien System ii. One Crop Agriculture d. Problems for Agriculture in an Industrial Society i. Railroads  Shorter routes cost more  Taxation System  Agricultural Trusts  Deflation  The Currency Problem 2. Building a Movement a. The Grange b. The Farmers’ Alliance c. Ocala Meeting & Demands d. The Populist Party i. The Omaha Platform 3. The Election of 1896 a. William McKinley vs. William Jennings Bryan 4. Frank Baum- Land of Oz Current Lecture 1) The Plight of the Farmers a) 19th c. Farmers’ Worldview i) Working for wages similar to slavery ii) Called working for waging and private industry “public work” or paid slavery iii) Leaving farm to go work for wages was loss of self sufficiency and independence b) Growth of Sharecropping and Tenant Farming i) Slaves start working family plots on old plantation ii) Tenant Farming- white farmers mainly, brought own supplies, would pay for land or crop, freedom to market own crops iii) Both replace as primary form of agriculture all over US (1) Many farmers (mostly whites) were losing their land c) Problems in the Agricultural System i) Crop-lien System (1) Because of lack of cash and banks for loans, farmers would go to local merchants, or furnishing merchant (land owner for tenant or share cropping) to start season of (2) Legal document entitling holder (lender) to whatever part of borrowers crop to pay of the loan plus interest (a) Interest rates high, because agriculture is dangerous thing to invest in ii) One Crop Agriculture (1) Local merchant wanted to be sure to get money back (2) Best way to ensure is that farmer plants cash crop (wheat west, cotton south) (a) Too much of one crop- lower price (b) Lower price= more farmers needing loans= bigger debt with no way to pay d) Problems for Agriculture in an Industrial Society i) Railroads (1) Shorter routes cost more (2) Taxation System (a) At the time, no income tax (b) Primary form was property tax (i) Hit farmers hardest (ii) Paid 82% of country’s taxes (3) Agricultural Trusts (a) Corporations bought up things needed for farming and charged high rates (i) Bat Guano (4) Deflation (a) Bad for producers and borrowers (b) Never ending cycle of debt (5) The Currency Problem (a) ...

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