The Populist Party was formed because farmers and laborers called for the abolition of national banks, a graduated income tax, direct election of Senators, civil service reform, a working day of eight hours and Government control of all railroads, telegraphs, and telephones. Many people in the nation were upset with the fact that senators were elected unfairly, and they wanted a direct election so that chances of reforms happening were possible. Farmers wanted to regulate railroads because they needed fair prices on their crops. The party was founded when The Farmers Alliance promoted collective economic action by farmers and achieved widespread popularity in the South and Great Plains. The Farmers Alliance joined with the National Grange. Low cost insurance was offered through the Alliance, as well as other benefits were promised. The Alliance and the National Grange, along with other labor groups, met in 1891 and 1892 to think over plans for a Political Party. James B Weaver was appointed as the Populist Presidential Candidate in the 1892 election to run against Benjamin Harrison and Grover Cleveland. Obviously Weaver lost, but he did have 22 electoral votes and over One Million Popular Votes.
The Populist Party tried to reform political standings by backing causes held by Laborers and Farmers. Since a lot of the population were Farmers & laborers, many people came to the party. The party was short lived because many business leaders began backing the Republican Party by millions of dollars, and the party did not appeal to many people.