Populist Movement Thesis and Conclusion

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Lianne Aratea
Mr. Dawson
APUSH Period 6
February 3, 2013
Written Assessment: CH 19- From Stalemate to Crisis
Thesis:
Populism was one of the few phenomena to gain real national influence, thus creating many arguments between historians. Populism didn’t start off as an influential political movement. It started out with ranges getting together to try and change their local governments. This evolved into farmers trying to get the attention of the government, and finally the Populist group was a rising political party that was upset about how the industrial nation left them behind. I find Pollack’s argument to be the most persuasive and Hofsdter’s argument to be the least persuasive against mass uprisings. The Populist movement was able to have influence to the nation. Conclusion:

In the 19th century, Populism was one of the few phenomena that had real national influence and this led to much attention being drawn to it and many arguments forming from historians. Richard Hofsdter was the weakest/least persuasive argument in stating that Populism was soft because it relied on unrealistic myth and they didn’t confront the realities of modern life. However, this is proven false because the Populist proposed economic reforms (i.e. graduated income tax, increase in money supply, and federal loans) showing that the party did not dwell in the past. Norman Pollack’s clam was the most persuasive in stating that the Populist’s accepted the realities of industrial economy, but wanted to make the economy more equal. This is proven correct through the Populist Party trying to attain an eight-hour work day and restrictions on immigration. Although these two historians viewed Populism differently, the fact that such different observations arose, shows that Populism was one of the few phenomena to have a real national influence.
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