The Populist Movement, also known as the People's Party was a movement in late-19th century America. It grew out of groups such as the Grange Movement. It was largely a movement of farmers, who were poor and felt big businesses, such as railroads, were to blame. Its leaders included Thomas Watson and William Jennings Bryan. The populists had a series of demands known as the Omaha Platform. Here are some of the things the Omaha Platform wanted:

  • An income tax
  • Direct election of United States Senators
  • Free coinage of silver (at a rate of 16 ozs. of silver to one ounce of gold) to encourage inflation
  • Government ownership of railroads and other large businesses

Though the Populists never and only controlled a few state governments for a few years, many of the demands of the Omaha Platform, such as the income tax and direct election of Senators, were later done as part of the Progressive Movement