The Populist Party Platform, 1892
After the Panic of 1873 and the collapse of agriculture prices, the farmers' revolt rose. The Populist party grew out from this revolt and through the collective economic actions that they promoted, the party became popular in the South states. In this excerpt from the Populist Party Platform, also known as the Omaha Platform, the Populists propose many different economic reforms that would help relaunching the economy especially in the agrarian sector. Consequently, we can wonder how does the Populist Party define itself against the two major parties. In order to answer that question we will first see that the People's Party wants to create a government by the people and for the people. And in a second time we will discuss the collective economic actions that they offer in order to help the crisis.
According to the Populists, the Government was led by richer classes and capitalists. They want to give more importance and power to the people.
Indeed, Populists believed that people were not fairly represented by their government mainly composed of rich men of higher classes. These men did not act in the interest of the people and took advantage of the poor classes whom they controlled by force and corruption (“Corruption dominates the ballot-box, the Legislatures, the Congress, and touches even the ermine of the bench.”). This explains why the Populists wanted to change the election system, using direct election of the Senators by the people, and the Secret ballot in order to avoid pressure by the government. They also complained about the lack of labor Unions (“The urban workmen are denied the right to organize for self-protection, imported pauperized labor beats down their wages, a hireling standing army, unrecognized by our laws, is established to shoot them down”). Populists were very keen on defending workers' rights and wanted to reform, among other things, the weekly hours of labor. They consider...
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