The Rise of the Populist Party
The people are demoralized… The newspapers are largely subsidized or muzzled, public opinion silenced, business prostrated, our homes covered with mortgages, labor impoverished, and the land concentrating in the hands of the capitalists. The urban workmen are denied the right of organization for self- protection; imported apprized labor beats down their wages; a hireling standing army, unrecognized by our laws, is established to shoot them down, and they are rapidly degenerated into European conditions.
The fruits of the oil of millions are boldly stolen to build up colossal fortunes, unprecedented in the history of the world, while their possessors despise the republic and endanger liberty. The national power to create money is appropriated to enrich bondholders; a vast public debt, payable in legal tender currency, has been funded into gold bearing bonds, thereby adding millions to the burdens of the people.Silver, which has been accepted as coin since the dawn of history, has been demoralized to add to the purchasing power of gold by decreasing the value f all forms of property as well as human labor; and the supply of currency is purposely abridged to fatten usurers, bankrupt enterprise and enslave industry. A vast conspiracy against mankind has been organized on two continents and is taking possession of the world….
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Wealth belongs to him who creates it, and every dollar taken from industry without an equivalent is robbery. If any will not work, neither shall he eat. ” The interest of rural and civic labor are the same; their enemies are identical… We believe that the time has come when the railroad corporations will either win the people or the people must own the railroads..
.. The land, including all the natural sources of wealth, is the heritage of the people and should not be monopolized for speculative purposes, and alien ownership of land should be prohibited.All land now held by railroads and other corporations in excess of their actual needs, and all lands now owned by aliens, should be reclaimed by the Government and held for actual settlers only….
“Cross of Gold” Speech, William Jennings Bryan, 1896 You come to us and tell us that the great cities are in favor of the gold tankard. I tell you that the great cities rest upon these broad and fertile prairies.Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic. But destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in this country. Having behind us the commercial interests and the laboring interests and all the toiling masses, We shall answer their demands for a gold standard by saying to them: you shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns. You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.