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A Plan to Place the Business of Farming Upon a Paying Basis

A Plan to Place the Business of Farming Upon a Paying Basis
Creator: Geary County Farmer's Alliance and Industrial Union
Date: 1891
At its meeting in Junction City on December 17, 1890, the Geary County Farmer's Alliance and Industrial Union appointed a committee of John Hay, J. L. Hulse and Jas. H. Gabby to report to the group on how farmers might be more profitable. They reported on Jan. 10, 1891, and their plan was adopted by the Geary County Farmer's Alliance and Industrial Union. It calls for farmers to work together to impact prices and supplies rather than being at the mercy of purchasers and speculators. It encouraged an effort to jointly hold back cattle from the Kansas City market for one day in an effort to increase the prices paid to farmers.


A hand-book devoted mainly to the money question

A hand-book devoted mainly to the money question
Creator: Maxson, Perry Burdick, 1826-1920
Date: 1891
This handbook presents a discussion about what is wrong in the economic system, according to the Populist perspective. It was written by P. B. Maxson and J. C. Hebbard, both Kansans, who were active in the Alliance and Populist causes. It deals primarily with financial issues, but contains some information on the price of crops, railroads, etc.


A historical review of the causes and issues that led to the overthrow of the Republican Party in Kansas in 1892

A historical review of the causes and issues that led to the overthrow of the Republican Party in Kansas in 1892
Creator: Kent, W. H.
Date: 1893
This pamphlet recounts the rise of the Populist Party in Kansas and the events of the legislative war in Topeka. This history is written from the Populist perspective. It may have been written by William Henry Kent who died in 1916.


Annie (Le Porte) Diggs

Annie (Le Porte) Diggs
Creator: Snyder
Date: Between 1890 and 1899
A portrait of Annie (Le Porte) Diggs, who was born in 1848 in Canada to an American mother and French father. Two years later the family moved to New Jersey, where she attended school. Diggs moved to Lawrence, Kansas, in 1873 and married Alvin S. Diggs shortly thereafter. While in Kansas, Diggs began to attend the local Unitarian Church and developed a strong sense of moral responsibility that prompted her to work for temperance and women's suffrage. During 1882, Diggs and her husband published the newspaper Kansas Liberal, and beginning in 1890 she was the associate editor of the Alliance Advocate. As a radical reformer seeking to wipe out injustice, Diggs also allied herself with the Farmer's Alliance, aiding in the creation of the People's (Populist) Party, serving on the Populist National Committee, and supporting the fusion of the Populist and Democratic parties in the 1898 election. Throughout this time she continued to work actively for women's voting rights and served in the Kansas Equal Suffrage Association. In 1898, she was appointed the state librarian of Kansas, and she was also elected president of Kansas Press Women in 1905. Diggs moved to New York City in 1906, where she worked on two publications: The Story of Jerry Simpson (1908) and Bedrock (1912). She relocated to Detroit, Michigan, in 1912 and died there on September 7, 1916.


A party of patches

A party of patches
Creator: Judge Magazine
Date: June 6, 1891
This political cartoon drawn by Bernard Gilliam was copied from the satirical magazine Judge presents the Republican perception of the People's (Populist) Party. The artist depicts the People's Party as a hot air balloon made up of a patchwork of pieces, with each piece labeled with the name of the political organization or party that has been subsumed under the banner of the Populists. Some of the more recognizable "patches" include the Prohibition Party, the Greenback Party, the Farmer's Alliance, and the Knights of Labor Party. Inside the balloon's basket are two leading Populists from Kansas, William Peffer and "Sockless" Jerry Simpson.


Constitution of the Alliance Produce Co.

Constitution of the Alliance Produce Co.
Creator: Alliance Produce Company
Date: Unknown
The Alliance Produce Company was formed "to secure the laborer a more just and equitable share in the product of his labor." The company intended to assist in marketing products, making loans for homes and equipment for pursuing a trade, and providing credit. The company was headquartered in Topeka, Kansas, and the president was P. B. Maxson of Emporia, Kansas. The board of directors included men from various Kansas communities. This company was viewed as part of the Farmers Alliance and Populist movements that believed that economic and governmental practices favored banks, railroads, and large companies at the expense of the laborer. It apparently intended to assist laborers by providing affordable credit.


Electors of Chautauqua County to Governor Lyman Humphrey

Electors of Chautauqua County to Governor Lyman Humphrey
Creator: Electors of La Fayette Township, Chatauqua County
Date: December 20, 1889-[n.d.], 1890
The Grafton and Center [Farmers'] Alliances of Chautauqua County petition Governor Lyman Humphrey to call a special session of the state legislature to provide farmers relief from mortgages. The Farmers' Alliance and Labor's Union of America of Kansas produced the petition form and accompanying resolution circular. The circular claims that legislation is needed immediately since the financial failure of many farmers is imminent. The circular also claims other states have prospered with such legislation and the laws will not discourage financial institutions from operating in the state. According to the circular, farmers bear an unfair tax burden and their requests for financial relief are reasonable. G. W. Roberts, Chairman Committee, Bed Rock Alliance, Elk Falls, Kansas, produced the circular. See Governor Lyman Humphrey to John Hughes, December 11, 1889.


Government Loans to the People

Government Loans to the People
Creator: Vincent, William Davis, 1852-1922
Date: 1886
W. D. Vincent gave this speech at the Clay Debating Club in Clay Center, Kansas, on February 19, 1886. Vincent proposes to make wealth more equitable by letting the government operate the system for making loans rather than banks. He believes that this would make mortgage rates fairer and limit the power of banks to control the amount of money in circulation. While given before the official formation of the Populist movement, many ideas expressed in the speech were supported by the Populists.


Governor Lyman Humphrey to John Hughes

Governor Lyman Humphrey to John Hughes
Creator: Humphrey, Lyman Underwood, 1844-1915
Date: December 11, 1889
In this letter Governor Lyman Humphrey of Topeka (Shawnee County) responds to John Hughes of Howard (Elk County) regarding a petition requesting a special session of the legislature to provide farmers relief from mortgages. The Farmer's Alliance and Labor's Union of America of Kansas produced and sponsored the petition. Mr. Hughes sent the first of such petitions to the Governor. The Alliance later cited the Governor's response to this petition in a circular it distributed with the petition forms. See Electors of Chautauqua County to Governor Lyman Humphrey, December 20, 1889-[n.d.], 1890.


How to organize an Alliance

How to organize an Alliance
Creator: Topeka Commonwealth
Date: February 8, 1881
This brief article from the Topeka Commonwealth outlines the basics of how to assemble a local branch of the Farmer's Alliance and the objectives of this reform organization. These objectives included obtaining fair prices for farm produce, enabling farmers to protect themselves against corrupt and unethical businessmen, eliminating government corruption, and opposing legislation that would aid big business at the expense of farmers. The Farmer's Alliance movement would eventually merge with the Knights of Labor to form the People's (Populist) Party.


J. H. Ritchie's lecture on the sub-treasury plan

J. H. Ritchie's lecture on the sub-treasury plan
Creator: Ritchie, J. H.
Date: 1892
This pamphlet contains a copy of a speech by J. H. Ritchie, the "County Lecturer of Montgomery County" Kansas. He was part of the Farmers Alliance movement and was also listed as associate editor of the "Industrial Free Press," in Winfield, Kansas. The sub-treasury plan was part of the Alliance party platform aimed at putting more money into circulation and increasing farmers' incomes. Such lectures were part of the Alliance's efforts to educate the people.


Kansas Newspaper Union letter

Kansas Newspaper Union letter
Date: May 12, 1890
N. R. Baker of the Kansas Newspaper Union at Topeka, Kansas, notifies various newspaper publishers of Farmer's Alliance related articles available for publication.


Lone Tree Farmers' Alliance minute book

Lone Tree Farmers' Alliance minute book
Creator: Lone Tree Farmers' Alliance
Date: September 4, 1890
The Lone Tree suballiance of the Kansas Farmers' Alliance of Dentonia, Jewell County, met in September of 1890 and recorded the minutes of that meeting. In addition to local appointments and elections, the minutes describe requests and motions to use member donations and the alliance treasury as campaign contributions. This motion led to a controversy between members affiliated with the Republican Party and those supporting the People Party (or Populists). The minutes also describe a lecture on the Republican Party platform. This political controversy marks the transition of the Farmers' Alliance into the People's Party (or Populist Party) which occurred in 1890.


Lorenzo Dow Lewelling

Lorenzo Dow Lewelling
Date: Between 1893 and 1895
This photograph represents Lorenzo Dow Lewelling (1846-1900). Born and raised in the Quaker lifestyle in Iowa, Lewelling moved to Wichita, Kansas in 1887, after working a variety of jobs and serving in the Civil War with his second wife and child from his first marriage. As a founding member of the Farmers' Alliance, Lewelling ran as a Populist for the 1892 governor's race. Notable events during his administration was the "Populist War" in 1883, clash with activist Mary Elizabeth Lease over the fusion of the Populists and Democrats, and removing Lease from her position as President of the Kansas Board of Charities. Failing to be re-elected as governor, Lewelling was elected to the Kansas State Senate, a position he held until his death.


Mary E. Lease to Joseph Hebbard

Mary E. Lease to Joseph Hebbard
Creator: Lease, Mary Elizabeth, 1853-1933
Date: September 11, 1890
In this brief letter Mary Elizabeth Lease, a Populist reformer who spoke out against the mistreatment of farmers, thanks Joseph Hebbard, treasurer of the Farmer's Alliance, for his help. She also asks him to do her one more favor: send some information about poverty demographics compiled by the Republicans in order to "dose them with their own medicine." Lease is apparently writing from Hiawatha, Kansas.


Mary Elizabeth Lease

Mary Elizabeth Lease
Creator: Deane
Date: Between 1890 and 1899
Mary Elizabeth (Clyens) Lease is perhaps the best-known Kansas Populist. She was born in Pennsylvania on September 11, 1850 to Irish immigrants. At the age of twenty she moved to Osage Mission, Kansas, in order to teach school at St. Anne's Academy. While there, she met and married Charles L. Lease, a local pharmacist. After several unsuccessful attempts at farming, Lease turned her attention to the plight of her fellow farmers, and by 1890, her passionate criticisms of railroads and big business made her a formidable force in the newly formed People's (Populist) Party. She became a well-known lecturer for the Populist cause, traveling throughout the West, Midwest, and South. Although this statement has in fact been misattributed to her, she is most known for her assertion that farmers must "raise less corn and more hell." Her zeal and refusal to compromise eventually alienated her from mainstream Populists, and by 1896 she had turned her attention toward other reform causes, including prohibition and suffrage. She divorced Charles in 1902, spending the remainder of her life living with various children on the Atlantic coast. She passed away on October 29, 1933 in New York state.


Petition of the farmer's convention

Petition of the farmer's convention
Creator: Topeka Capital
Date: January 26, 1881
This article relates the news from a Farmer's Alliance convention held earlier in January. The participants in this convention had written a petition that was presented to the Kansas House of Representatives on Tuesday, January 24, 1881. This petition addressed the greatest concerns of the Alliance, including their recommendations that the government "secure the people the free use of these public highways (railroads) upon the payment of just, uniform, and reasonable rates of toll," and that "the rate of interest be fixed at not more than 7 percent." The Farmer's Alliance movement would eventually merge with the Knight's of Labor to form the People's (Populist) Party.


Reminiscence of the 1893 legislative war

Reminiscence of the 1893 legislative war
Creator: Bull, Floyd R.
Date: July 15, 1955
In this reminiscence, Floyd R. Bull, a member of the El Dorado company of the Kansas National Guard, recalls his involvment in the Legislative (or Populist) War of 1893. During this conflict, violence broke out between the competing legislative houses--the Republican (Douglass) House and the Populist (Dunsmore) House--prompting Populist Governor Lorenzo Lewelling to call the National Guard to the capitol. On February 25 the Kansas Supreme Court affirmed the validity of the Republican House, thus ending the "war." This reminiscence is a copy of an earlier statement by Bull, written in 1938.


Revised constitution of the Kansas Alliance Exchange Company

Revised constitution of the Kansas Alliance Exchange Company
Creator: Kansas Alliance Exchange Company
Date: 1890s
The purposes of this company were to operate a mercantile business, to act as agents for buying and selling produce and crops, and to build and operate warehouses, grain elevators, stockyards, etc. It was based on the philosophy of the Farmer's Alliance movement, which became the Populist movement. The document envisioned "sub-alliances" in which individual farmers would participate.


Rules of the Barton County Alliance Exchange Company

Rules of the Barton County Alliance Exchange Company
Creator: Barton county Alliance Exchange Company
Date: 1890
This pamphlet outlines the rules under which the Barton County Alliance Exchange Company operated. Its purpose was to assist farmers to get the best prices for their crops and livestock. Farmers had to be members of the Farmers Alliance to be able to join the company. It was located in Great Bend, Kansas.


The People's Uprising

The People's Uprising
Creator: Spirit of Kansas
Date: Between 1890 and 1892
This poem deals with activities in the Kansas Statehouse from a Farmer's Alliance (or Populist) perspective. A number of Kansas politicians are named in the poem which implies that the Farmer's Alliance had some success against the Republican "bosses" of Kansas. The flyer was printed by the Spirit of Kansas, Topeka, a weekly newspaper published in Topeka from 1884 through 1892 (previously published in Lawrence).


The foolish appeals of the political tramps

The foolish appeals of the political tramps
Creator: Judge Magazine
Date: 1891
This political cartoon from the satirical magazine Judge depicts a farmer (representing Uncle Sam) standing in his wheat field talking to a Democrat and two Populists, "Sockless" Jerry Simpson and William Peffer, both from Kansas. These three men are attempting to convince the farmer of the importance of free trade and free silver, but he remains satisfied with the current situation. Meanwhile, across the sea in Europe, there are starving peasants begging for relief. The cartoon is meant as a criticism of the Populists' and Democrats' desire to "save" farmers. Judge magazine, created by artists who had worked at Puck magazine and who allied with the Republican Party, began in 1881.


The poor donkey has too many drivers

The poor donkey has too many drivers
Creator: Judge Magazine
Date: Between 1890 and 1899
In this political cartoon from the satirical magazine Judge, Populist senators William Peffer and "Sockless" Jerry Simpson push a boulder (symbolizing the Farmer's Alliance) under the wheel of a wagon that represents the United States. In the driver's seat are five congressmen, each with their own agenda labeled on their sash. The wagon is being pulled by a donkey signifying "democracy." Judge magazine, created by artists who had allied with the Republican Party, began in 1881 and its sales eventually surpassed those of its rival, Puck.


The sub-treasury plan and the land and loan system

The sub-treasury plan and the land and loan system
Creator: Scott, S. M.
Date: 1891
S. M. Scott was an "assistant lecturer for the Kansas Farmers Alliance and Industrial Union." The pamphlet discusses the Alliance sub-treasury plan in detail, including objections to it. The volume also has chapters about government loans on real estate and the power of railroads.


The way out:  a few thoughts relative to the conditions of the labor and producing classes

The way out: a few thoughts relative to the conditions of the labor and producing classes
Creator: Tilton, W. A.
Date: 1890
Mr. Tilton, Oxford, Kansas, discusses the reasons for the plight of the laboring class and offers principles and suggestions on page 16 and 17 that he hopes will be incorporated into the Alliance and labor related political parties. The suggestions include a minimum wage, government control of railroads, uniformity in the costs of mortgages, and that a four-fifths majority be required for the passage of any laws in the state or national legislature or those lacking a four-fifths majority need to submitted to the people for a majority vote before they are enacted. The pamphlet reflects the beliefs of many Populists, which was emerging as a political party.


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