HIST 221 Chapter Notes - Chapter 17: William Jennings Bryan, Gold Standard Act, Free Silver
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January 26th, 2012
- Farmer’s revolt
o Falling agricultural prices
o Too much cotton in the market – prices went down
o Blamed railroad companies, federal fiscal policies, and interst rates by bankers
- Farmers’ Alliance: farmers sought to remedy their condition – attempted to improve rural
conditions by the cooperative financing and marketing of crops.
o --The People’s Party: appealed to producing classes. Newspapers, pamphlets,
o The “last great expression of the 19thC vision of America as a commonwealth of small
producers whose freedom rested on the ownership of productive property and respect
for the dignity of labor (681).”
o Believed the federal govt could operate in a businesslike manner to promote the public
- The Populist Platform of 1892
o Long list of proposals to restore democracy
o Tried to forge relationships between black and white farmers – many white Populists
were landowning, many blacks were tenants
- Subtreasury plan, low interest rates
- William Jennings Bryan – free silver – farmers thought more money in circulation --- higher
prices for their products --- pay off their debts.
o The idea of govt helping ordinary Americans --- anticipated provisions of the New Deal
o Supported by Democrats and Populists
- Republicans said that gold was the only ‘honest’ currency
o Didn’t want to abandon the gold standard – would destroy business confidence and
prevent recovery frm the depression by making creditors unwilling to extend loans,
since they could not be certain of the value of the money in which theywould be repaid.
- Election of 1896 – first modern presidential campain – lots of money spent by the Republicans
on the campaign – candidate William McKinley
o Won with a huge majority
o During his term, lots of tarrifs and gold standard Act.
o Huge voter turnout
- Populism failed in the South
- Redeemers: the coalition of merchants, planters, and business entrepreneurs who dominate the
South’s politics after 1877 – claimed to have redeemed the region from the alleged horrors of
misgovernment and ‘black rule’
o Undid as much as possible of Reconstruction
o Slashed budgets, taxes reduced, public facilities close
o Harsh prison sentences (to the point of ridiculousness)
o Renting out of convicts = profitable business – every southern state placed a portion of
its convicted criminals in the hands of private businessmen. Bad labor camp conditions.
Farmer"s revolt: falling agricultural prices, too much cotton in the market prices went down, blamed railroad companies, federal fiscal policies, and interst rates by bankers. Farmers" alliance: farmers sought to remedy their condition attempted to improve rural conditions by the cooperative financing and marketing of crops. The populist platform of 1892: long list of proposals to restore democracy, tried to forge relationships between black and white farmers many white populists were landowning, many blacks were tenants. Redeemers: the coalition of merchants, planters, and business entrepreneurs who dominate the. Southern cities, institutions supported the growth of a black middle class colleges, churches, etc. Not until 1914 did northern employers open industrial jobs to blacks (before didn"t so when they emigrated they ended up as unskilled laborers) 1890s = major shift in terms of immigration 3. 5 million newcomers looking for industrial jobs. Immigration restriction league: called for reducing immigration by barring the illiterate from entering the united states.