College Papers

As the 20th century dawned

As the 20th century dawned, farming changed due to the development of new technology such as railroads. The farmers depended on railroads to deliver their wheat, cotton, and tobacco to market because of the speed and distance freight trains could cover. However, the railroad business was seen as a monopoly. They could continue to raise their rates whenever they liked because the farmers needed to get their products to market. Smaller farmers began to suffer and this even caused some of them to go broke. Farmers began to unite to form groups such as the National Grange and Farmers’ Alliances in order to get a fair deal from bankers, grain elevator companies, and railroad companies, similar to a union today. The political movement of populism was developed for farmers and by farmers to help face the problems of personal debt, lower prices for crops, and rising costs for shipping them. It formed after the creation of the National Grange and other groups, which were already giving farmers some political power. Populists had similar goals to the National Grange and Farmers’ Alliances, but as a solid political party they had more influence and more say in national issues.

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