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Populist Party

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The economy during the late 1800's was not going in favor of the farmers. The Sherman Silver Act and the McKinley tariff were taking hard hits on the poor, both increasing demands on bigger money supply and demanding more money on imports. Farmers from the South and West became desperate and started calling for measures that would benefit them and decrease the power of the elite. From the years 1890-1896 the Populist Party grew out of farmers' demands for the greater good of the people starting with the Omaha Platform, and fell do to their fusion with the silver democrats in the 1896 elections.

The Populist Party formed by the Farmers' alliance meeting at the Omaha platform and calling for direct election of senators and enacting state laws by voters that would supposedly help the poor. The Populist platform gained popularity among the south and west by their attacks on Laissez-Faire capitalism, shorter work days, and governments control of income and railroads. Even though the Populists gained significant popular votes for candidate James Weaver in the 1892 election, the Democrats pushed back in the south. Tom Watson attempted to unite the white and black farmers, but the Democrats remained strong on segregation. Even after Cleveland's victory, his unpopularity grew from the Pullman strike and his gold standard. As the Panic of 1893 spread across America, the Populists once again had a chance of victory from their rising popularity. Coxey's Army helped the Populists cause and decreased Cleveland's approval, but the 1896 elections are what brought an abrupt end to the Populist Party's hope of supported the lower class in fighting corporations and inflation.

The 1896 elections brought an end to Populists due to the struggle of Democratic views on the silver-gold issue. As the Democrats were dividing, the populists were trying to keep a strong view on lower class issues but seemed to have a hard time due to the Panic of 1893. As Bryan was giving his "Cross of Gold" speech and Cleveland was still supporting the gold standard and Laissez-faire, the silver



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