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Troubles for Farmers in the 19th Century

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The time period between 1880’s and 1900’s was generally good for politics. The U.S did not face the threat of war and many of the citizens were living peacefully. However, as time went by, the farmers in America found that life was becoming very rough for them. The crops they planted such as, wheat, cotton, etc. were once the sustenance of the agriculture industry, but now they were selling at such a low price that it was hard for farmers to make a profit. Rather many of the farmers were falling deep into debt. Furthermore, the improvement in transportation helped the foreign market gain an upper hand. Farmers often had to pay rebates and drawbacks to railroad companies to ship their goods. Railroad companies used rebates to win over the large business owners and made up the loss in profit by charging smaller shippers way more. During the last twenty years of the nineteenth century, farmers considered monopolies, trusts, railroad, and loss in silver backed dollar as threats to their agrarian lifestyle. Overall, the farmers blamed their problems on two things; the money supply, and the railroads which were valid complaints.
The expansion of the railroad was one of the most significant elements in American economic growth. However, the railroad owners faced extreme competition and needed a way to win business. Therefore, the railroad companies started to use rebates to appeal to larger shippers and to make up for the loss, they would charge extremely high prices for small shippers such as farmers. The railroad companies justified this practice by saying that if they did not use rebates, they would not make enough profit to stay in business. (Doc. G) While the railroads felt that they must use this practice to make a profit, the fa...

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...It would not impact farming by making it more successful or by causing it to fail. (Doc. B) This opinion was not valid because McKinley was a Republican and the Republican Party was supportive of big businesses and therefore the currency of gold. They did not want silver as the currency because then the big businesses in the country would be hurt. (The Republican Party)
To sum it all up, the agrarian society was threatened by the low prices of crops, monopolies and trusts, railroad companies, and banks. During the last twenty years of the 19th century, farmers started speaking out against these problems and parties such as the Populist Party came into existence. The complaints by farmers were justified because farmers could barely make a profit and any money that they did have would go to the railroad companies for transporting crops or banks to pay off the loans.
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