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The Changes The Gilded Age Brought to American Society

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During the Gilded Age, the nation was quickly transformed into an urban, industrial power. New transportation and communication networks were being created and technology advancements gave way to a new economy. These extreme changes could only come at the expense of America’s agrarian community. Farmers and labors ultimately had to pay the price for this new age of transformation, and became more distressed by it. That’s why in an effort to retaliate against the burden the country had pressed on them, the farmers’ and labors started the Grange Movement. Which in turn led the farmers to organize one of the strongest Third Party movements in American history, the Populist Party.

Since the end of the Civil War, farmers in the South and the plains states suffered from worsening economic and social condition.The source of the farmers’ problems was a decrease in commodity prices caused by overproduction and growing international competition for world markets.Though there were some fruitful farmers such as large ranchers and the owners of bonanza farms, most farmers were struggling. Farmers reasoned that there was one thing messing with the system, and targeted the railroads and food processors. Farmers resented high railroad freight rates — there was no different style of transportation, but rates were often considered criminally high. They considered this a monopoly. A good example of a monopoly is the picture, where a big man holds the world in his hands and sits on bags of money while the people in the background get nothing. This symbolizes a monopoly because a monopoly is a market structure that feels in all the money and doesn’t allow anyone else to get the money. High tariffs place farmers at an obstacle as a result of they’d sell their cotton and different staples on world markets, whereas factory-made product oversubscribed within the us were protected by tariffs.Many farmers were stuck in a very cycle of debt. The National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry, or the Grange, was founded in 1867. 

During the Gilded Age, the nation was quickly transformed into an urban, industrial power. New transportation and communication networks were being created and technology advancements gave way to a new economy. These extreme changes could only come at the expense of America’s agrarian community. Farmers and labors ultimately had to pay the price for this new age of transformation, and became more distressed by it. That’s why in an effort to retaliate against the burden the country had pressed on them, the farmers’ and labors started the Grange Movement. Which in turn led the farmers to organize one of the strongest Third Party movements in American history, the Populist Party.

Since the end of the Civil War, farmers in the South and the plains states suffered from worsening economic and social condition.The source of the farmers’ problems was a decrease in commodity prices caused by overproduction and growing international competition for world markets.Though there were some fruitful farmers such as large ranchers and the owners of bonanza farms, most farmers were struggling. Farmers reasoned that there was one thing messing with the system, and targeted the railroads and food processors. Farmers resented high railroad freight rates — there was no different style of transportation, but rates were often considered criminally high. They considered this a monopoly. A good example of a monopoly is the picture that is Document H, where a big man holds the world in his hands and sits on bags of money while the people in the background get nothing. This symbolizes a monopoly because a monopoly is a market structure that feels in all the money and doesn’t allow anyone else to get the money. High tariffs place farmers at an obstacle as a result of they’d sell their cotton and different staples on world markets, whereas factory-made product oversubscribed within the us were protected by tariffs. Many farmers were stuck in a very cycle of debt.

The National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry, or the Grange, was founded in 1867. The farm started as a social and academic response to the farmers’ isolation, but as it grew it began to promote farmer-owned cooperatives for the buying and selling of crops.

The farmers wanted the people to know the importance of their selling crops. As seen in Document A, a farmer connected and surrounded by many people with different occupations, says “I feed all of you”. This symbolizes the farmers importance during that time, without a farmers crops no one would eat. Thus, the importance that the farmers should be paid fairly without the higher rates for feeding everyone. The Grange’s chief political goal was to control the rates charged by railroads and warehouses. “…We are opposed to such spirit and management of any corporation or enterprise as tends to oppress the people and rob them of their just profits”. They were sick over being cut out of their hard earned money. As the farm lost energy, Farmers’ Alliances — which emphasized political action — grew in size and significance. In 1890, Nebraska farmers formed the Populist party.

The People’s Party claimed to represent little farmers and wage laborers, blacks and poor whites, in their fight against greedy railroads, corporate monopolies, and corrupt politics. “Wealth belongs to him who creates it, and every dollar taken from industry without an equivalent is robbery”. It was also said in Document D that, “… We say to you that you have made the definition of a business man too limited in its application. The man who is employed for wages is as much a businessman as his employer”. Which supports their platform, even more since they are basically stating that everyone is equal in a business and that monopolies disrupt the equality of a business. The platform concerned additional instead of less government intervention within the economy, for only government was capable of expanding the money supply, counterbalancing the power of big business,and providing economical national transportation networks to support the wants of agriculture. The party was eventually able to pass the Sherman Anti-Trust Act which says, “Every person who shall monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons, to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor…”. This party was able to once and for all ban monopolies and give justice to the farmers.

In conclusion, the Gilded Age was an age of great changes in society, technology, and the economy. In the Gilded Age sprouted the Grange movement where farmers and labor workers organized to fight transporting monopolies that charged outrageous rates for transporting crops. The Grange movement eventually led to the birth of the Populist Party, which fought to be heard politically. The party wanted to be rid of corruption in the government and to expand the money supply so they could get out of debt. The party did just that and got monopolies and corruption like that illegal. If it wasn’t for the influences from the Grange movement, the Populist Party would have never been created.

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