Farmers Discontent Ap Essay
The United States from the beginning was a nation of farmers. But by the late nineteenth century, people were leaving the farm and moving into the city.
It was around this time that the farmers saw threats to their way of life. The farmers were being pushed around by the banks, railroads companies. They had good reasons for agrarian discontent. The documents show the validity of the farmer’s complaints, especially on bank mortgage rates and the gold standard. The Populist Party or People’s party grew from agrarian uprising that rose after the collapse of agriculture prices following the Panic of 1873.The Farmers’ Alliance, promoted collective economic action by farmers and achieved widespread popularity in the South and Great Plains. Document A describe the complaints of the Populist Party and their views.
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The document supports the fact that the party Was formed to voice the complaints Of the farmers against gold standard, the industrialists, and the corruption. The Farmers’ Alliance or Populist Party was ultimately unable to accomplish its wider economic objective of grouped action against bankers, railroads, and merchants.By the late 1 sass, the Alliance had developed a political outline hat called for regulation and reform in national politics. The major issue was the Alliance’s opposition to the gold standard to counter the deflation in agricultural prices. The populist wanted sliver currency because they believe it would make it easy to pay back debt and bring inflation. Document C shows that money was hard to come by between 1870-1880 and show the reason for the farmers wanting a silver currency.They thought it would be easy to pay off their debt if money was easier to come by The Document E points out that the reason the farmers are in horrific economic situation is because they pep overproducing but they’re blaming it on the gold standard instead.
Document B describes the reasons the silver currency wouldn’t help farmers. The document says labor, hours, and pay would not be better and supports the gold standard. The agrarian discontent was caused by combination of many elements. The earth seemed to work against the farmers. Grasshoppers would destroy entire crops and leave farmer with nothing but bills to pay.Floods, expensive fertilizers, droughts all added to the farmer’s trouble. On top of Mother Nature misfortunes, the farmers were also cut into by their government.
The land was over assessed. They had to pay high taxes, and tariffs. Over production forced farmer to sell their products at low- prices to remain competitive. The farmer got pull in to a depressing loop of buying expensive machinery to increase their production and selling them product at a lower price. The demand was just not as large as the supply. Farms started to operate at a loss. Farmer had to take out mortgages at ruinous rates of interest from eastern banks.
The Document D shows a picture Of an eastern banker leading the framers to the court house to foreclose on their farms. Farmers who once own their land now became sharecroppers and tenant framers. The document shows the farmers as slaves to there eastern masters. Another reason for agrarian displeasure is that the farmer where at the mercy of large corporations. They were pressured by harvester trust, the barbed-wire trust, and fertilizer trust. The trusts could control production and raise prices. Document F describes trust as monopoles organized to destroy competition and restrain trade.
The complaints made against the trust by the farmer are justified by document F. The railroad companies were major focal point of the farmer’s discontent. The farmers had to deal with outrages freight rates. If they tried to protest the cruel railroad operators could refuse them cars and let their grain spoil. The Document H support the fact the farmer had to deal with outrages freight rates. The document describes how the railroad raise there rates and ruin farmers. Farmer wanted the government to regulate the railroads.
In Wabash, the Court had to decide whether states have the power to regulate railroad rates for interstate shipments.It ruled that the Commerce Clause does not permit dates to enact “direct” burdens on interstate commerce. The agrarian discontent is justified by the terrible hand dealt to them by the environment, monopolistic industrials, and legislatures. Farmer’s complaints about the railroad were valid, but the complaint made against the gold standard isn’t because over production attributed to their misfortunes. The Populist Party was short lived but many of the Populist ideas were adopted by the Democratic Party. Once the more established party adopted the Populist policies, they no longer had much political force.