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

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Showing 1 - 16 of 16 (results per page: 10 | 25 | 50)


A. J. Arnold to Joseph Hebbard

A. J. Arnold to Joseph Hebbard
Creator: Arnold, A. J.
Date: August 11, 1892
In this brief but informative letter A. J. Arnold, a Topeka, Kansas, druggist, informs Joseph Hebbard, treasurer of the Farmer's Alliance, of his decision to switch his allegiance from the Democratic Party to the People's (Populist) Party. He is eager to "release the state of Kansas from the misrule of the Republican Party." While Arnold is confident that he has made the right decision, he also notes that many other Democrats are wavering. Consequently, Arnold has prepared a letter to the Democrats that expresses the benefits of supporting Populism; he asks Hebbard to read through the draft of this letter and provide comments. This enclosure is not with the original letter and has not been located.


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.


Farmers in politics

Farmers in politics
Creator: Kansas Farmer Magazine
Date: February 8, 1882
This article from The Kansas Farmer (edited by Populist William Peffer) discusses the need for "cleaner politics." According to the unidentified author, it is the people's responsibility to hold politicians accountable and to reform the government. The article also describes the "party machinery" that is responsible for government corruption, calling for the people to organize and effect change.


Handy money for the poor man

Handy money for the poor man
Creator: Topeka Populist
Date: November 5, 1892
This article presents a condensed version of the Secretary of the Treasury's 1890 report on how much paper money was currently in circulation. Most of this money, according to the report, was tied up in large bills that would never make it into the hands of the common man. One of the major objectives of the Populist Party was to increase the coinage of silver.


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.


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.


People's Party shepherdess and republican wolf

People's Party shepherdess and republican wolf
Creator: Ottawa Journal and Triumph
Date: September 20, 1894
In this political cartoon from the Ottawa Journal and Triumph (printed in Franklin County), the Republican Party is depicted as a greedy wolf, attempting to trick the Populist shepherdess into abandoning her duty as protector of the sheep. The sheep represent the American people. The cartoon includes a caption that outlines their conversation.


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.


Puppetmaster political cartoon

Puppetmaster political cartoon
Creator: Ottawa Journal and Triumph
Date: July 12, 1894
This political cartoon from the Ottawa Journal and Triumph, published in Franklin County, presents the Populist perspective on big business and its ties to the government. In the cartoon, a puppet master (with a hat that reads "corporations") controls five marionettes, labeled with official positions such as "major," "judge," and "governor." The largest marionette, at the center, is President Grover Cleveland.


St. George and the Dragon--a modern version

St. George and the Dragon--a modern version
Creator: Kellogg, A. H.
Date: May 28, 1892
This political cartoon from the Topeka Populist newspaper, depicts the People's (Populist) Party as St. George, the patron saint of England, who is slaying the dragon that represents the corruption of government and big business. The dragon has the names of specific businesses and politicians written on its body. According to legend, St. George was a fierce warrior who saved a village in Libya by slaying the dragon who had demanded that the town sacrifice all its young women.


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 machine and bosses

The machine and bosses
Creator: The Farmer's Wife
Date: April 1892
This concise article in the Populist publication The Farmer's Wife defines the terms "bosses" and "machine," arguing that both the Republicans and the Democrats are corrupted by their involvement with big business. Congressmen, according to the Populists, exist simply to do the bidding of the political forces that seek to enrich themselves and show no concern for the problems of the common people. The Farmer's Wife was created by Ira and Emma Pack, who published it in Topeka, Kansas, from 1891 until 1894. The newspaper served as a forum to discuss reform movements (including populism and suffrage), to present human interest stories and to offer practical advice to Kansas women.


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.


W. W. Cone to Joseph Hebbard

W. W. Cone to Joseph Hebbard
Creator: Cone, W. W.
Date: May 10, 1892
In this letter, W. W. Cone of Topeka, Kansas, discusses the pending election and the People's (Populist) Party nominations. He provides the names of several leading Populists, including John Davis, John Grant Otis, and Jeremiah "Sockless Jerry" Simpson, writing confidently that "I believe every Alliance Congressman from Kansas will be reelected." In addition, Cone was displeased that Republican newspapers had implied that the Peoples' Party Convention made resolutions that favored the Democratic Party platform. Thus, he asked Hebbard to speak to both Jerry Simpson and Tom Watson in order to discover the true result of this convention. Cone also asked Hebbard to send him the names and dates of any newspapers that provided an accurate account of the convention's proceedings.


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.


Why we grow

Why we grow
Creator: The Farmer's Wife
Date: September 1891
This article, originally printed in William Peffer's Kansas Farmer, explains the reasons behind the growth of the Populist movement. Consequently the article focuses on corruption within the government, which has led to legislation that discriminates in favor of the wealthy and privileged and at the expense of the working man. The Farmer's Wife was created by Ira and Emma Pack, who published it from Topeka, Shawnee County, from 1891 until 1894. The newspaper served as a forum to discuss reform movements (including populism and suffrage), to present human interest stories, and to offer practical advice to Kansas women.


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