Populist Movement Essay

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In the 1890s The Populist Party became the most successful third party in the United States since before the Civil War. In order to understand this sudden change in the political sphere one must look at the factors that led to the rise of the populist movement. The populist movement was an effort by lower class citizens to gain more power and influence in American society while simultaneous diminishing the power and influence of the elites. The Populist movement was spearheaded by farmers and laborers in the south and west and targeted big corporations. The main party platform included governmental regulation and ownership of banks and railroads, women’s suffrage, income tax on the wealthy, and called for the direct election of senators . Although the Party did not last the reasons for its rise gives invaluable insight to the conditions in the United States at the time. The rise of the populist movement can be attributed to the general grievances farmers and laborers faced, agrarian discontent and political dissent, the newfound globalization encountered due to new technology and the inclusive nature of the party itself.
For farmers and laborers in the 1880s-1990s everyday life took a turn for the worse. They now faced numerous new issues that negatively impacted their lives, and they wanted to change that. Agrarian discontent included high taxes, tariffs that increased the cost of manufacturing, a currency shortage, expensive middlemen and decreasing cotton prices . On the political and social side the power and influence held by corporations and businesses grew at an exceptional rate, creating a huge divide between the rich and poor. The lower class saw the gap grow and needed a platform to try to change their situation and the...

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...l and economic grievances and changes experienced by the working class in America leading up to the 1890s. Farmers were assimilated into the national economy but the transition was not a smooth one as businesses started controlling the flow of resources and goods and therefore the farmer’s profits. The hold robber barons and corporations had over the government influenced governmental policy, creating hardships for the working class that they wished to end. Additionally the Populist Party was formed by the combination of numerous reform groups, bringing together different races, workers, classes and uniting the west and south. The Populist movement in the US quickly rose in the early 1890s and although it did not prevail the Populist Party’s platforms influenced the policies of both the republicans and democrats, therefore having a lsting effect on American society.
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