How Successful Was The Populist Party

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The Populist party was a political party in the 1890s which mainly consisted of the working class, predominantly western farmers. The populist platform was largely based on eliminating capitalism and giving agrarian farmers more opportunities to make money. The populist party lasted only a short four years, with its end being the result of a failed presidential campaign during the election of 1896. The populist party was not successful in achieving any of their political agenda, and their ideas are not relevant in today’s government.

The first reason that the Populist party was not successful in their platform was that they had never been voted into office. Their campaign had seemed to be extremely anti-industry, which caused the party to …show more content…

Because they were never in office, they didn’t have the power to go through with any of their plans. They could only advocate for each individual objective. For example, one of their biggest ambitions was unlimited coinage of silver, to allow the use of both silver and gold to back up paper money. Allowing silver to be used for currency would put more money into the country, allowing farmers to charge more for their crops. However, this idea was shot down by President William McKinley, a Republican, when he passed the Gold Standard Act in 1900. The Gold Standard Act stated that only gold can be used to back paper money. Another example could be that they wanted to end capitalism and monopolies of land. They did not succeed in this endeavor, however, because they didn’t have the power to enact laws against the robber barons’ control over land or extreme …show more content…

The populist belief that government revenues should be “limited to the necessary expenses of the government” would not be useful now because of government funded programs. Today, the government has expansive reserves and funds that support extremely important programs such as the military, schools, welfare programs, the forest service, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Without the funds for these programs, much of our lives would be unregulated and therefore more dangerous. The populists also wanted the railroads to be “owned and operated by the government in the interest of the people”. Today, railroads are owned, operated and maintained by railroad companies. If the government suddenly claimed all of the railroads, they most likely wouldn’t be cared for and maintained as well as they are now. Also, the request for unlimited coinage of silver would be completely irrelevant in today’s government because money isn’t backed by metals like gold or silver. Instead, money is regulated by the Federal Reserve and only backed up by debt. These are only a few examples of the Populist party’s proposals that would not be relevant

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