Farmers Revolt

This essay has a total of 759 words and 4 pages.


Farmers Revolt





DBQ 13: The Farmer’s Revolt


Farmers were once known for being able to do everything themselves. They grew their own
food and sewed their own clothes. People often yearn for the old days and complain about
so many people living in cities. Many farmers had to give up their farms and move to the
cities, because of something that happened in the late nineteenth century.

High prices forced farmers to concentrate on one crop. The large-scale farmers bought
expensive machines, increasing their crop yield. This caused the smaller farmers to be
left behind. The small farmers could no longer compete and were forced give up their farms
and look for jobs in the cities. The smaller farmers who stayed blamed their troubles on
banks and railroads. In the 1890’s western and southern farmers came together to
make up the political party called the Populist Party. Their plan was to take control of
the White House; then they could solve all their problems.

The increase in crop yield caused a change in the economy, which the party set out to
straighten out in 1892. On their party platform they demanded that the government take
control of the railroad. The railroad was charging extremely high prices to transport
grain. They asked the government to use the railroads for the benefit of the people. They
also wished to set the economy straight and asked for an unlimited coinage of gold and
silver at a ratio of sixteen to one and a graduated income tax. Since the increase in crop
yield, this caused overproduction, which resulted in farmers having to lower their prices
greatly. In 1890 clergyman Washington Gladden wrote an article called “The Embattled
Farmers”. In it he blamed the ruin of the farmers on “protective tariffs,
trusts…speculation in farm products, over-greedy middlemen, and exorbitant
transportation rates.”

James Laurence Laughlin wrote an article “Causes of Agricultural Unrest” that
was published in the Atlantic Monthly. He wrote, “the farmers, in all honesty, have
attributed their misfortunes to the “constriction” in prices”, caused by
lack of gold, not overproduction of their crops. He then went on to explain how that could
not be possible, and we simply have produced too much wheat. Poet Vachel Lindsay wrote a
poem concerning the subject, entitled, “BRYAN, BRYAN, BRYAN, BRYAN: The campaign of
1896 as viewed at the Time by a Sixteen Year Old, etc.” In it he mentioned the
“Election at midnight; Boy Bryan’s defeat” which was when the Populists
lost the election. He then wrote “Defeat of the wheat; victory of the
letterfiles” and “Defeat…[of] the blue bells of the Rockies, and the
Continues for 2 more pages >>




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