7 Politics and populism
By the 1880s, farmers had begun organizing and protesting, laying the blame for their economic struggles at the feet of industrialists and railroads. Organizations like the Grange began as ways for farmers to cooperate and support one another, but quickly expanded into politics. By the 1890s, farmers were joining with industrial workers to create the People’s Party or “Populist” Party, which briefly became a force in American politics. In this chapter we’ll learn about the ways farmers organized and advocated for themselves, and we’ll analyze why North Carolina’s populist experience was unique.