Populist Dbq

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5/14/13
Populist
Farmers everywhere in the United States during the late nineteenth century had valid reasons to complain against the economy because the farmers were constantly being taken advantage of by the railroad companies and banks. All farmers faced similar problems and for one thing, farmers were starting to become minorities within the American society. In the late 19th century, industrialization was in the spotlight creating big businesses and capitals. The success of industrialization put agriculture and farmers on the download, allowing the corporations to overtake the farmers. Since the government itself was also pro-business during this time, they could’ve cared less about the farmers.

Farmers knew that industrialization had been successful during this time, this allowed them to modernize their farming techniques. Farmers began to use new farming machinery which made growing wheat much faster and efficient. The farmers had to buy new tools such as the thresher, which was very expensive. Farmers went to the banks to borrow money. Banks would take advantage of the farmers and raise the interest rates. This made the farmers fall into debt. Farmers began losing more and more money and were then forced their mortgages foreclosed on. Farmers became sort of like slaves to the banks. Banks eventually took away everything the farmers owned. (Doc. D) The farmers’ complaints were justified because of the bankers’ injustice toward the farmers. Bankers let them fall into debt with higher interest rates and then seized everything they owned.

Just like the bank, railroad companies also scammed farmers. The railroads regularly used rebates and drawbacks to help win the business of large shippers. This made up a loss in profits which caused an increase in the cost to smaller shippers, such as farmers. The railroads also hurt farmers because in some cases the railroad company promised the farmer a set amount price. Like The Octopus, a farmer is promised a...
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