Populism and the Populist Party what is populism? How did the Populist Party start?

Money supply and deflation

Money Supply- the amount of money in the national economy

When the government increases the supply of money, the value of the dollar decreases. This is an example of inflation.

Someone who borrows money benefits from inflation. This is because the money they owe is worth less than the money borrowed.

Someone who sells goods, such as a farmer, is then able to raise their prices.

Deflation- a drop in the prices of goods.

Money lenders benefit from deflation, rather than borrowers. This is because the money they receive has more worth than the money they lent out.

After the Civil War, the government wanted to get rid of paper money. They created a plan for the makeup and quantity of the nation's supply of money.

Those in favor of deflation wanted less currency in circulation, but those who favored inflation wanted more.

The difference between the bimetallic standard and free silver

Bimetallic Standard:

currency consisting of gold or silver coins or even U.S. treasury notes that could be traded for gold or silver.

In 1873, Congress made the currency a gold standard. They hoped that it could prevent inflation and stabilize the economy.

Free Silver:

the unlimited coining of silver dollars to increase the money supply

In 1875, the Greenback Party was founded. They pushed for the continuation of issuing paper money. They joined the "silverites". The "silverites" were western farmers or those who were silver miners.

The Bland-Allison Act of 1878

To the silverites, this act was a step in the right direction.

This act required the government to make more silver coins. This caused inflation.

Congress passed the bill, but President Rutherford B. Hayes vetoed it in the process.

The treasury only purchased the minimum required amount of silver and they refused to circulate the law required silver.

The Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890

This act increased the silver purchase requirement per month

The government almost went bankrupt in 1893 when foreigners withdrew gold. This act was blamed for that scare, and it was repealed immediately.

The Patrons of Husbandry

Created by Oliver H. Kelley in 1866.

The Grange, or the Patrons of Husbandry, was an organization that helped farmers by buying goods in large quantities for cheaper prices.

It helped regulate businesses that farmers could depend on.

Farmers' Alliances

Most were created in the 1880s, but in Texas an alliance formed in the mid-1870s

many farmers joined this network of alliances all over the nation

Actions called for by many farmers:

federal regulation of railroads

more money circulating

creation of state departments of agriculture

antitrust laws

farm credit

The Farmers' Alliances were important to women and vouched for them.

The Farmers' Alliances had programs for when natural disasters occurred.

Interstate Commerce Act

signed in Cleveland in 1887

regulated the freight charges when moving between states

made it illegal to give special rates to specific customers, but not all

The Populist Party believed in:

increased circulation of money

unlimited minting of silver

progressive income tax

government ownership of transport systems


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