For our business interests,
we desire to bring producers and consumers, farmers and manufacturers
into the most direct and friendly relations possible. Hence we
must dispense with a surplus of middlemen, not that we are unfriendly
to them, but we do not need them. Their surplus and their exactions
diminish our profits....
We are opposed to excessive salaries, high rates of interest,
and exorbitant per cent profits in trade. They greatly increase
our burdens, and do not bear a proper proportion to the profits
Declaration of Purposes of
the Patrons of Husbandry (The Grangers), 1874
We meet in the midst of a nation
brought to the verge of moral, political and material ruin. Corruption
dominates the ballot box, the Legislatures, the Congress, and
touches even the ermine of the Bench. The people are demoralized...the
newspapers are largely subsidized or muzzled, public opinion
silenced, business prostrated, our homes covered with mortgages,
labor impoverished, and the land concentrating in the hands of
the capitalists. The urban workmen are denied the right of organization
for self-protection; imported pauperized labor beats down their
wages; a hireling standing army, unrecognized by our laws, is
established to shoot them down, and they are rapidly degenerated
into European conditions. The fruits of the toil of millions
are boldly stolen to build up colossal fortunes, unprecedented
in the history of the world, while their possessors despise the
republic and endanger liberty.
The national power to create
money is appropriated to enrich bondholders; a vast public debt,
payable in legal tender currency, has been funded into gold bearing
bonds, thereby adding millions to the burdens of the people.
Silver, which has been accepted as coin since the dawn of history,
has been demonetized to add to the purchasing power of gold by
decreasing the value of all forms of property as well as human
labor; and the supply of currency is purposely abridged to fatten
usurers, bankrupt enterprise and enslave industry. A vast conspiracy
against mankind has been organized on two continents and is taking
possession of the world....
Wealth belongs to him who creates
it, and every dollar taken from industry without an equivalent
is robbery. "If any will not work, neither shall he eat."
The interest of rural and civic labor are the same; their enemies
We believe that the time has
come when the railroad corporations will either own the people
or the people must own the railroads....
The land, including all the
natural sources of wealth, is the heritage of the people and
should not be monopolized for speculative purposes, and alien
ownership of land should be prohibited. All land now held by
railroads and other corporations in excess of their actual needs,
and all lands now owned by aliens, should be reclaimed by the
Government and held for actual settlers only....
1892 Populist platform
The farmers of the United States
are up in arms. They are the bone and sinew of the nation; they
produce the largest share of its wealth; but they are getting,
they say, the smallest share for themselves. The American farmer
is steadily losing ground. His burdens are heavier every year
and his gains are more meager; he is beginning to fear that he
may be sinking into a servile condition. He has waited long for
the redress of his grievances; he purposes to wait no longer....
Washington Gladden, "The
Now the People's Party says..."You
are kept apart that you may be separately fleeced of your earnings.
You are made to hate each other because upon that hatred is rested
the keystone of the arch of financial despotism which enslaves
you both. You are deceived and blinded that you may not see how
this race antagonism perpetuates a monetary system which beggars
Tom Watson, 1892, appealing
to black voters
If the gold standard advocates
win, this country will be dominated by the financial harpies
of Wall Street. I am trying to save the American people from
that disaster--which will mean the enslavement of the farmers,
merchants, manufacturers and laboring classes to the most merciless
and unscrupulous gang of speculators on earth--the money power.
My ambition is to make money the servant of industry, to dethrone
it from the false position it has usurped as master, and this
can only be done by destroying the money monopoly.
William Jennings Bryan, 1896
The man who is employed for
wages is as much a businessman as his employer. The attorney
in a country town is as much a businessman as the corporation
counsel in a great metropolis. The merchant at the crossroads
store is as much a businessman as the merchant of New York. The
farmer who goes forth in the morning and toils all day...is as
much a businessman as the man who goes upon the Board of Trade
and bets upon the price of grain.
We come to speak for this broader
class of businessmen....It is for these that we speak. We do
not come as aggressors. Our war is not a war of conquest. We
are fighting in the defense of our homes, our families, and posterity.
We have petitioned, and our petitions have been scorned. We have
entreated, and our entreaties have been disregarded. We have
begged, and they have mocked when our calamity came.
We beg no longer; we entreat
no more; we petition no more. We defy them!
There are two ideas of government.
There are those who believe that if you just legislate to make
the well-to-do prosperous that their prosperity will leak through
on those below. The Democratic idea has been that if you legislate
to make the masses prosperous their prosperity will find its
way up and through every class that rests upon it.
You come to us and tell us
that the great cities are in favor of the gold standard. I tell
you that the great cities rest upon these broad and fertile prairies.
Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will
spring up again as if by magic. But destroy our farms and the
grass will grow in the streets of every city in this country.
Having behind us the commercial
interests and the laboring interests and all the toiling masses,
we shall answer their demands for a gold standard by saying to
them: you shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown
of thorns. You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.
William Jennings Bryan, 1896
For the first time since the
civil war the American people have witnessed the calamitous consequence
of full and unrestricted Democratic control of the government.
It has been a record of unparalleled incapacity, dishonor, and
disaster....It has...entailed an unceasing deficit...piled up
the public debt...forced an adverse balance of trade...pawned
American credit to alien syndicates....In the broad effect of
its policy it has precipitated panic, blighted industry and trade
with prolonged depression, closed factories, reduced work and
wages, halted enterprise and crippled American production, while
stimulating foreign production for the American market.... [Our]
policy taxes foreign products and encourages home industry. it
puts the burden of revenue on foreign goods; it secures the American
market for the American producer....
The Republican party is unreservedly for sound money....We are
unalterably opposed to every measure calculated to debase our
currency or impair the credit of our country.
1896 Republican Party Platform