The Populist Movement's Failure

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The Populist Movement ultimately failed to survive because of their desire for inflation and the support for the coinage of silver, as well as the fact that they merged with the Democratic Party to combat the Republicans. The 1896 election undermined agrarian insurgency, and a period of rapidly rising farm prices helped to bring about the dissolution of the Populist Party. Another important factor in the failure of the party was its inability to affect a genuine urban-rural coalition; its program had little appeal for wage earners of the industrial east. Although the populists were not outright socialists, many conservative interests saw the Populists as a threat to the basic economic system of the United States. The Populists’ agenda was to help the poor farmers of the midwest, west and south with their money problem and bring them back up onto their feet. The agrarian midwest, west and southern plans conflicted with the eastern and northeastern region of the country; their proposals only favored a select region of the country while the others would remain unaffected or negatively affected. The Populist Movement would ultimately shift the country into a backward reform bringing the country back to its agrarian based economy. During the late 1800s the agricultural industry was beginning to get weak and farmers were starting to have a tough time with their money and the agricultural prices. In response to these problems alliances such as the National Farmers Alliance (NFA) had sprung up. They had met up with the Industrial Union (IU) in order to converse about all the issues affecting the people. Both the NFA and the IU had united to form the Southern Alliance, which had included both the combined goals of the NFA and IU. Most of the issues that the Alliance worked to amend were the issues pertaining to the agricultural industry. In December 1890 in Ocala, Florida the Southern Alliance had brought to the attention of the United States government twelve demands known as the Ocala Platform. These twelve demands would be the basis of the Populist Movement. The leaders of each of these alliances came together in 1892 to form the Populist Party that would assist the variety of problems that the farmers were encountering; this was “a voice for the farmers in an industrial society.”1 The goal of the party was clear, to fix all of the problems that the Federal government had caused. After the formation of the Populist Party, the Party members felt the need to broadcast how they felt in the Omaha Platform of 1892. This platform included a preamble or an introduction that listed the failures of the United States government and the requests of the party to amend these issues, the “Expression of Sentiments.” The Omaha Platform of 1892 had listed the goals of the Populist Party. The Populist Party was also known as the People’s Party and they believed that the average person should have control of certain aspects of life such as the money of the country. The wealth of the country should be kept in the hands of the people as much as possible. This demand would cause problems with the government spending. Restricting the government spending to a minimum and hurting the country in the long run. This demand would limit the government on what they could buy to better the growing country. For example, this request could possibly limit national defense for the country making the people vulnerable to an attack. Restricting the government would also force them to be economically honest with their spending, or the government would be breaking the restriction. The Populist Party also believed that the land, including all of the natural resources of wealth, such as oil, lumber, coal, and other related resources, is the inheritance of the people. They believed that the land and the natural resources on the land should not be used for the creation of business for profit. This request would not go well with the rich business owners and the Eastern...
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