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The Populist Movement The Populist movement has been unwaveringly crowned the single most massive democratic movement in the history of America It represents a legion of millions of Southern and Western farmers during the last several decades of the nineteenth century This massive group was a revolt against the two major political parties and the exclusive oppressive industrialist notion they represented One of the major works discussing this movement was Lawrence Goodwyns Democratic Promise and in its condensed form The Populist Movement A Short History of the Agrarian Revolt in America This exhaustive study covered the movement from its inception through its flourish to its inevitable demise as many other types of literature discussed here attempt to do This essay will explore the complexities found in the movement in light of the arguments and suggestions posed by Goodwyn and others The Populist movement represented a revolt against the problems of industrialism It was concentrated on an interest in money power The Peoples Party viewed the old political parties as the primary means by which the people were kept wandering in the wilderness and so formed a third political party This new party found its basis in the idea that the government should expand capitalistic power from the grips of private monopolized corporations This notion was borne in the West primarily due to a vast industrial take-over of land The disappointment of the Homestead Act which initially promised farmers free or cheap land in the West found new settlers amidst debt high costs and low yield The Homestead Act failed due to the fact that American farmers migrated much more quickly than anticipated and because it was poorly executed and enforced Free land was bought by the government and railroad magnates at a much quicker rate than by farmers This may have been avoi ded had the Populist notion of equal distribution of wealth had been executed by the government That is the Populists main
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