Populism and the Election of 1896

Between the end of the Civil War and the end of the First World War, the United States was transformed from a rural, agricultural nation into an urban and industrial one. These changes were far-reaching indeed and profoundly affected the lives of most Americans. Not surprisingly, this period was also one of political protest. Of the various political protest movements that occurred, the People's Party, or Populist Party, of the 1890s was the most outspoken and, in the short run, the most successful. The members of the Populist movement, which grew out of the agricultural discontent of the 1880s and early 1890s, loudly condemned the growing power of big business and corruption in the political process. In 1896 they joined with the Democrats to support the presidential candidacy of William Jennings Bryan. This primary source portfolio examines the problems of the farmer that led him to leave his former political allegiances and form a series of protest organizations culminating in the Populist Party of the 1890s. It explores the national political issues of the early 1890s and the emotional presidential election of 1896. The exhibits and narrative will increase your students' understanding of what it was like to live in this period of rapid change and political protest. This portfolio includes a Study Guide with reproducible student activities. 5 Illustrated Broadsheet Essays: * The Problems of the Farmer, 1865-1890 * The Farmer Organizes, 1865-1890 * Birth of the People's Party, 1890-1892 * National Problems and National Politics, 1893-1896 * The Election of 1896 11 Primary Source Documents: * Two railroad posters advertising western lands, ca. 1870s, and a translation * Life on the Frontier: photographs of farm life in Nebraska, 1887-1890 * Two Grange posters, 1869 and 1873 * A letter to Kansas Governor Lewelling, 1894, and a transcript * A page from The Farmers' Alliance, Lincoln, Nebraska, February 28, 1891 * Pages from a Populist songbook, 1890 * Two pages from The Omaha Daily Bee, July 5, 1892, with an account of the Populist national convention of 1892 * Pages from a campaign book in which a southern Populist considers the race problem, 1894 * The front page of the Emporia Weekly Gazette, August 20, 1896, in which a Kansan criticizes the Populist movement * A selection from William Jennings Bryan's "Cross of Gold" speech, 1896 * A Republican campaign poster, 1896

Product type: Primary Source Portfolio
ISBN: 978-1-5669-6074-8
Author: Robert W. Cherney
Copyright: 1974
Reading Level: Grades 8-12+
Interest Level: Grades 8-12+
Dimensions: 14" x 9 1/4"