Populism DBQ

Topics: Economics, Inflation, Money Pages: 2 (699 words) Published: January 20, 2014
In the late nineteenth century, around 1880-1900, many farmers were experiencing problems and threats to their way of life. The valid complaints of the farmers dealt with the money supply system in America and the large railroad companies. In 1892, the platform for the Populist Party was laid down. In this platform it is stated that “the national power to create money is appropriated to enrich bondholders ... thereby adding millions to the burdens of the people.” This is discussing the demonetization of silver and the negative effect it has on the common people, such as farmers. Later on in the platform is it also discussed that silver has had widespread acceptance as a coin for a very long time and by demonetizing it to increase the purchasing power of gold, the results are several negative consequences which will eventually lead to “terrible convulsions, the destruction of civilization, or the establishment of an absolute despotism.” This unhappiness of farmers regarding the money system in the United States is also shown in a political cartoon from The Farmers Voice, a Chicago newspaper in the late 1880's or early 1890's. The cartoon entitled “The Eastern Master and His Western Slaves” depicts farmers as slaves to the wealthy eastern businessmen. It is representing the exploitation of the farmers and shows yet another of their economic struggles; the mortgages they bore on their farms. Further evidence that supports and validates the farmers' complaints about the current economic situation is found in William McKinley's acceptance speech given in Canton, Ohio on August 26, 1896. In his speech, McKinley said that even though free silver “would not make farming less laborious and more profitable..” farmers and laborers are the ones who suffer the greatest as a result of the cheap money. “They are the first to feel its bad effects and the last to recover from them...”. The belief that silver is the solution of the problems for farmers is opposed in J. Laurence...
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