A congressional history of the Populists
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"Populism arose as a party movement representing an agrarian economy to combat the rising force of industrialism in the United States. It represented the rural forces of unrest that had been agitating for relief from the evil conditions that had fallen upon agriculture. The depression and "hard times" were beginning to bear down with force upon the western debtor farmers by the approach of the congressional election of 1890. The election of 1890 was held amid the storm and bustle of a great fight over the tariff and monetary issues. It was in that year that the movement which was to give rise to Populism took the form of a political organization. It had as its origin a group of organizations known as Alliances, which had been organizing farmers and educating them for a decade. These Alliance groups had held a convention at St. Louis in December, 1889, for the purpose of uniting the various groups into one supreme Alliance. Here their plans for union failed but they did succeed in framing demands which read like a party platform..."--Page 1.