Gilded Age DBQ

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While laissez-faire enabled corporate powers to burgeon, farmers and social workers did not benefit from the bureaucratic government. American agriculture endured many hardships during the Gilded Age and was profoundly affected by the technological advancements, government policies, and economic conditions between 1865 and 1900. The declining position of American Farmers was the corollary of novel technology and mechanized agriculture. Because subsistence farming was no longer a viable option, farmers transformed their estates into commercial businesses and became heavily dependent on machinery and producing at commercial scales. Much of the new technology farmers invested in for example, steel plows, harrows, grain binders, threshers, windmills,…show more content…
Examples of such policies are the McKinley Tariff, The Dawes Act, “Crime of ‘73,” governments lax enforcements on regulations, and political fraudulence. The McKinley Tariff posed problems to farmers in that it raised importation taxes, which raised the prices on farm equipment and ignored the already plunging agricultural prices. The Wilson-Gorman Tariff was a slight improve in that it reduced the original tariff. The Dawes Severalty Act also had an adverse effect on farming. It retracted the Indian Reservations and expanded white settlement by increasing the acreage for farmers during the Gilded Age (Document I). Congress’ vicissitude in 1873, of the Mint Act of 1872 was especially hard on farmers. Known as, the “Crime of ’73,” this new policy discontinued silver coinage and allowed only for standard gold that would stabilize the currency and benefit the bankers. Since the amount of gold in circulation could not keep up with the growing economy, farmers were negatively impacted: the change in currency depreciated the prices farmers received for their crops and made it arduous to repay loans. Government subsidies for expansion of railroads and lax enforcements of regulations did not benefit the farmers either. Lastly, Political fraudulence was common during that time period. Political parties often lied to farmers and encouraged them to raise big crops and would then…show more content…
The party planned to increase democracy, establish a graduated income tax, regulate railroads, and solve the money issue with silver coinage. Conformists of the party were mainly farmers and other people in favor of inflation. The Populist Party was the most successful third party in the 19th century, attracting more than a million followers; however, its popularity was ephemeral. The election of 1896, which revolved around the circulation of money, resulted in the demise of the Peoples Party. The supporters of the Populist Party threw their support at Democratic candidate William Jennings Bryan, who endorsed silver coinage in his “Cross of Gold” speech. To their dismay, McKinley, who promised to maintain the gold standard, defeated Bryan and the entire Democratic and Populist

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