Forgotten Populists: When Farmers Turned Left to Save Democracy - Steve Babson
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The Populists of the 1890s transformed the nation’s political terrain, and this book tells the story of the hard-pressed farmers who launched that movement. Their call for a widening democracy to counter corporate monopoly and profiteering tapped into a growing resentment of the rich, a resentment that grew as the economy alternated between rapid growth, producing more millionaires, and severe economic depressions, producing more poverty. The Populist challenge to unbridled capitalism would finally force Republicans and especially Democrats to recognize the growing support for progressive change within their own ranks.
These historical Populists are now forgotten as today’s pundits would have us believe that “populists” of the left—no less so than the right—are uniquely drawn to authoritarian politics. Often enough, the term serves as a sly pejorative, hinting at the unreliable behavior and hidden agendas of anyone who challenges established authority.
You won’t find that in this book. The historical Populists are presented here as champions of democracy and forward-looking reforms. Recovering the historical meaning of their challenge to corporate absolutism is a first step in linking that past to current struggles against the corporate behemoths of our time.
- Publisher : Mission Point Press (April 25, 2023)
- ISBN : 978-1-958363-79-9
- Retail price : $14.95
- Pages : 72
- Size : 8.5 x 11 inches