The Farmers’ Movement

Satisfactory Essays
Farmers were unhappy about the position they were put in. In Document F, F. B. Tracy says why the farmers revolted. It was not just because they were treated unfairly but it was also because they were finding their homes and farms foreclosed, the prices of their crops were dwindling, the railroads that drove their crops to the markets were overcharging them, and their money was depreciating. They felt that they deserved more respect because they fed ministers, scientists, inventors, soldiers, lawyers, merchants, and moguls as stated in Document A. Farmers expressed their discontent during 1870-1890 by joining organizations and parties and their attitudes and actions changed the normal two party systems. Due to the nature of farmers, they were often independent and individualistic and not in any kind of organizations. This hurt them because corporations and processors were frequently involved in trusts and used it to their advantage. Mary E. Lease talks about this in Document C. She basically says that it is time for a change and that we will no longer be abused by banks and the dreaded foreclosure system. So the National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry (Grange) was organized in 1867 by Oliver H. Kelley. According to Document G, manufacturing had become the main economic sector. So, the Grange’s goal was to improve the lives of farmers by organizing them through social, educational, and fraternal activities. To further improve the lives of farmers, the Grangers eventually went into politics. They made Granger Laws to try to make others recognize the principle of public control of private business for the good of all. One very important one would be the Interstate Commerce Act. As noted in Document E, Richard Olney did not like the Interstate Commerce Act but he felt that it could be used in the railroads’ advantage. Another organization that farmers were in was the Farmers’ Alliance in the late 1870s. It did some of the same things that the Grangers brought about. But they did not include tenant farmers, sharecroppers, blacks, and farm workers. As stated in Document B, Booker T. Washington believed that colored people were going through the same things as other farmers and they deserved to be included in the various organizations. Farmers also joined the Greenback Labor party to do some of the same things that the Grangers did. They elected 14 members to Congress and chose a president but they lost with only 3 percent of the popular vote.
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