The Farmers Alliance

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Populism DBQ

During the period of 1880-1900, farmers were facing many hardships. Financial issues were one of the main difficulties as well as long hours, droughts, insect plagues, and ranchers and cowboys. The farmers refused to back down without a fight. Farmers made valid complaints and expected something to be done about it. Their complaints weren’t being listened to and they took matter into their own hands. The Farmers Alliance was formed in the 1890’s to serve for needs of education, farming methods, and to organize economic and political action.

A great hardship farmers faced was overproduction of crops. Because of the over production, crop prices were lowered and farmers weren’t able to make much money. In Document E, J. Laurence Laughlin, “Causes of Agriculture Unrest”, it explains the enlargement of supply without the corresponding increase of demand. This being something that caused some farmers to even go into a depression. Farmers needed more land to compensate for the price. Also happening during this time was the drastic change between gold and silver currency. The change was creating chaos. When gold became scarce, government took it upon themselves to make silver the new form of currency. In Document A, The Platform of the People’s (populist) party, it states that silver being the new currency as opposed to gold made the value of property and labor go down. Thus only adding to the difficulties farmers had to paying.

The rising costs greatly affected farmers in the 1800-1900’s. Big companies kept their prices high making it almost impossible for small farmers to keep up. They also had to keep up with the middle man and warehouses and retailers stores that shared the profit. In Document F, James B. Weaver “A Call to Action: An Interpretation of Great Uprising”, it says monopolies are key to destroy competition. That’s exactly what they were doing to small farms so they’d no longer have competition. They would decrease the prices of raw...
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