Compare And Contrast The Populists

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The Populists of the late 1800s proved to be a significant liberal movement since their ideals contradicted with the common conservative beliefs in the time period. Composed of former members of the Grange and the Farmers’ Alliance, the Populist Party formed as a result of the economic problems farmers faced in the Gilded Age. Farmers blamed their debt troubles on several powerful forces. Railroad companies overcharged for shipping and farmers faced the extremely high McKinley Tariff which made it more expensive to buy an item harder to sell crops. The farmers’ financial woes led them to develop liberal beliefs and solutions and promote the preservation of the small farming way of life during a time when the nation was becoming more industrial. Therefore, the Populists advocated a wide variety of economic, political, and social beliefs and reforms which greatly contrasted the more common conservative views of the …show more content…

Many of the farmers they supported were far from the nation’s capital so the Populists attempted to bring the federal government to the farmers. They desired the direct election of U.S. Senators through the popular vote during a time when the state legislatures chose them. Populists also favored a one-term limit for president, contrasting the conservative no-term limit idea that was present until the passage of an amendment in the twentieth century, so that the common man could control the government, not a corrupt and powerful executive. Furthermore, the large number of popular votes that the Populist Party received in the Election of 1892 and the crucial election of 1896 in which William Jennings Bryan represented mostly Populist views displayed that the Populists’ liberal platform attracted many voters. The Populists’ political views on government interference and enhancing democracy significantly contrasted with the existing views of the time period which showed the liberalism of the

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