In class we have to right a thesis for the 1983 dbq
The Popuhsts (1983 DBQ) - Santa Fe Christian Schools
In class we have to right a thesis for the 1983 dbq. Here is the question...
Documents A-H reveal some of the problems that many farmers in the late nineteenth century (1880-1900) saw as threats to their way of life. Using the documents and your knowledge of the period, (a) explain the reasons for agrarian discontent and (b) evaluate the validity of the farmers' complaints.
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For American farmers, the late nineteenth century resulted in a difficult economic standpoint. Monopoly Railroad companies overcharged for the shipping of the farmers’ produce, merchants sold essential tools and seed on ten- percent interest, and deflation of the American Dollar. Agrarian discontent stemmed from a variety of reasons and was relatively valid.
One threat farmers saw was the deflation of currency. Deflation would cause the value of money to rise, which would then cause the farmers to receive less money for their crops. The shortage of money caused a slow agony full of long-term debts for the farmer. They couldn’t raise enough produce to pay for what had coast less before. What now cost 3,000 bushels of wheat, used to cost only 10,000 bushels. They blamed the economic hardship on the shortage of money. Inflation would cause money to have less value, but the farmers would be able to pay their debts more easily because they would be charged lower interest rates on the same dollar amount. As stated in Document A, farmers, whom were members of the populist party, believed that demonetizing silver would increase the difficulty of paying off their debts. They thought that the purpose of deflation was a conspiracy to increase the wealth of creditors and businessmen at the expense of the common man.
Besides difficulty of paying debts, farmers also saw increasing railroad shipping rates as a threat to stability. The farmers thought that these higher prices would further decrease their profits and drive them to bankruptcy. Many short distance railroad routes were monopolized by railroad companies. Long distance routes, however, had a great deal of competition. The competition on those routes drove rates so low that no profit was being made on long distance shipments. The only way railroad companies could sustain themselves was to raise prices on local shipping routes. If they increased prices...