The Populist Moment: A Short History of the Agrarian Revolt in America
by Lawrence Goodwyn
Oxford University Press (1978)
The Populist Moment describes the rise and fall of the 19th century populist movement, the largest mass democratic movement in US history. At its zenith during the 1896 election, the populist People’s Party had two million members.
Author Lawrence Goodwyn credits the rise of the agrarian populist movement to two major factors: 1) the unwillingness of the Eastern banking establishment to issue adequate credit to small family farmers and 2) the sudden contraction of the money supply caused by pressure on the post-Civil War government to repay bonds it floated for $450 million of treasury notes (aka Greenbacks) Lincoln used to pay for the civil year.
Goodwyn also blames the systematic failure of commercial banks to issue adequate credit for the ultimate consolidation and centralization of farming in the…
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