AP US History
5 March 2013
Essay question: Populist Party
In 1892, the Populist Party was formed. It was a 3rd party among the two other major ones, Democrats and Republicans. During that time industry was growing and growing, and many people were very poor or very wealthy. These poor non-industrialists wanted support and couldn’t find it with all the rich capitalists on the rise.
Republicans in the House sponsored a new tariff act that hurt farmers called the McKinley Tariff Act in 1890. It raised rates extremely high to protect republican industrialists. Farmers in debt had no choice but to buy manufactured goods from high-priced protected American industrialists and sell their agricultural products in to competitive unprotected markets. This was a problem for many farmers and led to the Populist Party.
The Populist Party was rooted in the Farmers’ Alliance of frustrated farmers in the west and south. They demanded inflation through free and unlimited coinage or silver, and a graduated income tax. They also wanted government ownership of railroads, the telegraph, and telephone, direct election of U.S. Senators, a 1-term limit of presidency, shorter workdays, and immigration restriction. They wanted adoption of the initiative and referendum to allow citizens to senate legislation more directly. This was the platform the party took.
From the recent tariff passed, Republicans lost a lot of support in congressional elections. Congress now included members of the Farmers Alliance. Parties like the Populists believe that the major two parties in the system are not fitting their needs, and try to bring the issue to the attention of the public. So, the 3rd party is organized to accommodate what the people want. The populist party was one of the best known for doing so, they represented the farmers and poor workers who had little chance in the economic world.
For these reasons I believe that the Populist Party did have...
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