The Populists. “The People’s Party”. After the Civil War, many new political ideas spread. America’s farmers were at the forefront of one of the new political movements. Independent self-sufficient farms were disappearing due to credit debt .
“The People’s Party”
After the Civil War, many new political ideas spread. America’s farmers were at the forefront of one of the new political movements.
Independent self-sufficient farms were disappearing due to credit debt .
Farmer’s began to join together a develop farm organizations like the Farmer’s Union.
The Union urged members to work together to keep costs down.
For example, a merchant might agree to keep the costs reasonable in return for the business of Farmers’ Union member.
The American farmers led to the development of a new political party 1891 - the Populist Party.
Platform: “We believe that the powers of government should be expanded…to the end of oppression, injustice, and poverty shall eventually cease in the land.”
They believed that the middlemen and factory owners were taking to much of the farmer’s profit.
Wanted gov’t to make changes to help small farmers.
Promoted gov’t ownership of the railroads so transportation of goods would be less expensive.
Changes in money and banking.
The 1896 election and the fusion movement threatened the Democratic control.
The Bourbon Democrats reacted by forming a knew constitution. They planned to use the constitution to maintain their power.
Additions: requirement that voters own property, be literate, and pay a poll tax
These additions disenfranchised the freedmen.
The Democrats did not want to take the white vote away so they added a “grandfather clause,” which said that if your grandfather had the right to vote you would have the right to vote and not have to take the literacy tests or own property.
This effected the African American vote drastically: 1896 130,000 were registered, by 1900 only 5,300, and by 1904 only 1,300 were registered.
POLL TAX CERTIFICATE