American Populism / Edition 1

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Overview

From the first crises in America's farming regions in the 1870s through the fracture and demise of grass-roots protest organizations at the end of the century. American Populism chronicles the Populists' battles with the dominant institutions of an industrializing nation. In this readable and balanced account, Robert McMath examines Populism's relation to the social and economic networks of rural communities and to churches, schools, fraternal organizations, and trade unions, showing how it became a natural response to dramatically changing times.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A balanced and comprehensive political history that manages to convey the magic of the Populist appeal within a shrewd assessment of its electoral and cultural limits."--Leon Fink, University of North Carolina

"American Populism was one of the most frustratingly complex movements of political insurgency in American history. McMath skillfully guides his readers through its many side roads and contradictions. he has succeeded in pulling together the social, economic, and intellectual threads that linked the struggles of dissidents from the Great Plains to the Deep South, presenting his story in vigorous and readable prose. We have badly needed a brief but insightful overview of American Populism. Now we have it."--Dan Carter, Emory University

"A masterful concise survey, easily the best now available. McMath is thorough and balanced, yet he manges at the same time to tell a good old-fashioned story."--Gavin Wright, Stanford University

"A substantial achievement, ably synthesizing the expansive scholarship and contributing to it in significant ways. Well organized and deftly argued, it constitutes the best modern general history of this important subject."--Peter Argersinger, University of Maryland

Library Journal
This compact book delivers what it promises, a summary of the current understanding of populism, the rural social and political reform movement of the last quarter of the 19th century. The subtitle at first seems misleading, for populism by its very nature was a political movement. However, by emphasizing populism's social roots, the author conveys the idea that populism was much more than the political party. Instead of studying populism from the top down or analyzing it from the viewpoint of the 1890s, when it seemed to be at high tide, McMath turns to its historical roots in rural communities, before it became a powerful national political movement. The result is a clear synthesis of the latest research, valuable for general readers interested in the nature of grass-roots politics as well as for professional historians. with an interest in a major American protest movement.-- Charles K. Piehl, Mankato State Univ., Minn.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374522643
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 3/8/2004
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 246
  • Sales rank: 810,769
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert C. McMath, author of American Populism, taught American history at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 3
1 Populist Country Before Populism: Rural Life in the New West and the New South 19
2 Cultures of Protest, 1867-86 50
3 The Farmers' Alliance in Search of the Cooperative Commonwealth, 1887-89 83
4 Farmers, Laborers, and Politics: Interest Groups and Insurgency, 1890 108
5 Creating a Political Culture: The People's Party, 1891-92 143
6 The Crisis of Populism, 1893-98 180
Bibliographical Essay 213
Index 233
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