Populism In Texas

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The Populist Party was a blip in American History when considering the whole of political history in the United States, but Populism was an extremely important political movement; one that was born in Texas and did extremely well, at least for short while, in Texas and across the country. The changes of the Populist and Democratic Party platforms in 1892, 1896, and 1900 show this transition and the election results from those years confirm the reality. Another key piece of evidence that shows the absorption of Populism by the Democrats is William Jennings Bryan’s Speech “A Cross of Gold,” and the subsequent fusionist alliance between the national Populist Party and the Democratic Party in support of Bryan. From 1892 to 1900, the Democratic…show more content…
The height of Populism was in the early 1890s. In 1892, the Populist candidate received twenty-four percent of the vote in Texas. By 1900, the Populist candidate received only five percent of the Texas vote and the party had practically disappeared. The table above provides the votes for each candidate in the presidential election in Texas. The data clearly shows the decrease in the vote for the Populist, but the 1896 election is especially interesting. In 1896, the vote for the Republican candidate is much higher than in 1892. The Populist candidate, William Jennings Bryan was also the Democratic candidate that year and the increase in Republican votes is due to many Texas Populists choosing to ally with the Republicans in hopes of defeating the Democrats. This alliance on the state level was in part due to their anger over the fusionist alliance at the national level of the party that meant the Democrats and the Populists had the same presidential candidate. However, the alliance was unsuccessful because it was unpopular in addition to Democratic efforts to ensure it would fail using “everything from charges of racial treason and bribery, stuffing ballot boxes, and shooting Populist organizers.” This meant that Democrats secured their supremacy and the Populists lost their one chance to win…show more content…
The Democrat platform is a regression to traditional Democratic Party rhetoric, which shows they did not see any other party as significant opposition. There is an addition to the party platform that was influenced by populism—support for the direct election of senators. They also reaffirm the commitment to arbitration and the free coinage of silver and gold, but the focus of the platform is on militarism and imperialism. The lack of large concessions as was the case in the 1892 party platform show that the Democrats were not as concerned with the opposition. The lack of a Populist Party platform at all proves the absorption of their party by the Democrats was practically

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