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Curriculum - 7th Grade Standards - Kansas History Standards - 1880s to 1920s (Benchmark 4) - Populism (Indicator 2) - Railroads

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Between Millstones

Between Millstones
Creator: Kelly, H. B.
Date: 1896
This short pamphlet discusses the problems that high tariffs and the gold standard create for workers and farmers. It clearly presents Populist ideas about the dire situation of Kansas farmers by giving several examples of how businessmen and merchants benefit from the oppression of common laborers. The pamphlet was written by H. B. Kelly and printed by the Jeffersonian Publishing Company in Lawrence, Kansas; each pamphlet cost five cents.


Campaign songs, as sung by the National Quartette

Campaign songs, as sung by the National Quartette
Date: 1892
This volume of campaign songs includes four pieces that vividly express the major beliefs of the Populist Party. The first song, "For Trampling on the Grass," criticizes the businessmen and bankers who were trampling on the rights of the common people. The second song, "The Republican's Lament," pokes fun at the Republicans who were no longer able to dominate the Populists now that "they have ceased to head our whippings, and have ceased to take our word." The third song, "The Wall Street Badge" describes how the government, according to the Populists, was now in the hands of Wall Street. The final song, "One of His Legs is Longer Than It Really Ought to Be," provides a comic perspective on some of the upcoming elections, including the race between Chester I. Long and "Sockless Jerry" Simpson.


G. R. Anderson to Board of Railway Commissioners

G. R. Anderson to Board of Railway Commissioners
Creator: Anderson, G. R.
Date: May 21, 1883
In this letter G. R. Anderson, owner of a general merchandise, coal, and hay store in Caldwell, Kansas, complains to the Board of Railroad Commissioners that the rate of transferring loads of coal on the Missouri Pacific Railroad at Ft. Scott is unreasonable. The flat rate of five dollars per car meant that, proportionally, moving a small load of coal was more expensive that moving a large load of coal. See the Board of Railroad Commissioners' response to this concern, a letter by H. M. Hoxie to E. J. Twiner, dated May 31, 1883.


H. M. Hoxie to E. J. Twiner

H. M. Hoxie to E. J. Twiner
Creator: Hoxie, H. M.
Date: May 31, 1883
H. M. Hoxie, third vice-president of the Missouri Pacific Railway, wrote this letter to E. J. Twiner, secretary of the Kansas Board of Railroad Commission, in response to concerns about the transfer of coal on the railroad. Hoxie referred Twiner to an attached letter, written by the freight traffic manager, George Olds. Olds' letter stated that the transfer rates were indeed fair, because apparently the railroad had to impose high rates to deflect the high cost of these transfers. This letter was written in response to an inquiry by G.R. Anderson, dated May 21, 1883.


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.


The modern barons

The modern barons
Creator: Topeka Populist
Date: June 25, 1892
This article discusses how the "public highways" of the country (meaning the railroads) were under the control of capitalists instead of being the property of the people. The article, which is an excerpt of a speech by Kansas congressman John Davis, laments the fact that these are "sold as commodities of commerce." Davis, a Populist, believed that railroads were run by corrupt businessmen and owned by bankers who had no concern for the common people and who gave special privileges to the rich.


This is slavery

This is slavery
Creator: Topeka Populist
Date: September 24, 1892
This article, which illustrates the Populists' belief that capitalists and businessmen exploited American workers, relates the story of African-American laborers employed by the Wilkes Barre and Eastern Railroad in Pennsylvania. These workers were mistreated, and when they tried to leave they were forced to return to work. The author asks, "What is this, but slavery?... Laborers wholly at the mercy of masters who have no interest in their welfare."


We stand for

We stand for
Creator: The Farmer's Wife
Date: August 1891
In this brief clipping the publishers of this Populist newspaper, Ira and Emma Pack, list the main beliefs of the Populist movement. They began publishing The Farmer's Wife in 1891, using it as a forum to discuss reform movements (including populism and women's suffrage), to present human interest stories, and to offer practical advice to Kansas women.


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