by Janet Crain
The story belows shows a cabin still standing where the first Farmer's Alliance meetings were held and I don't doubt it had some connection. But I have also read that the little cabin where the Farmers Alliance was formed was taken apart and transported to the Chicago Worlds Fair, reassembled and put on display. At the conclusion of the Fair, the story goes, the cabin was parceled out in small pieces to those who wanted a memento of this historic cabin.
Building a populist coalition in Texas, 1892-1896.
Publication: Journal of Southern History
Date: Thursday, May 1 2008
THAN A HALF CENTURY HAS PASSED SINCE C. VANN WOODWARD argued that the success of the People' s (or Populist) Party of the 1890s hinged on construction of three somewhat improbable coalitions of the dispossessed: southerners and westerners, farmers and laborers, and blacks and poor whites in the
Building a movement of the dispossessed in the Lone Star State in the 1890s was fraught with many difficulties. Then as now, Texas was an exceptionally large and diverse state. It is more than eight hundred miles from Brownsville on the Mexican border to the northern edge of the semiarid expanses of the Texas Panhandle, and nearly as far from the Piney Woods of East Texas to
Of the ten major soil types commonly "recognized around the world, seven are found in abundance in Texas." (2) The state was nearly 85 percent rural in the 1890s. Yet cities as different as southern-white-evangelical-dominated Dallas and overwhelmingly ethnic San Antonio experienced significant growth in the late nineteenth century. (3) A mixture of whites from both the upper and the plantation South, as well as a significant black population, gave the state a southern ambience. But people of Mexican, German, Czech, and Polish heritage both mingled with the native-born population and formed distinctive cultural areas of their own. (4)
Populist was not a term these sweaty, raw boned farmers applied to themselves. They called themselves “The Farmer’s Alliance”. They were driven by the desire to create what we call today a “level playing field”.
© Janet Crain
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