A fraternal organization of white farmers and other countryside southerners, consisting of teachers, ministers, and also physicians, the Farmers’ Alliance began in Texas in the mid-1870s and also swept across the entire South throughout the late 1880s. The organization attempted to deal with the mounting financial difficulties of southerly farmers through forming cooperative purchasing and marketing enterprises. It supported a federal farm-credit and marketing scheme called the subtreasury plan. Once these initiatives failed, the Alliance played a leading role in developing a national third party, the People’s or Populist Party, in the at an early stage 1890s. This bolder entry into partisan politics, however, break-up the Alliance’s membership and contributed to the organization’s quick demise.

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Origins and also Growth

A small group of farmer in Lampasas County, Texas, developed the Farmers’ Alliance roughly 1875. The organization grew slowly and unsteadily; not till 1886 walk it start to broaden into various other states. The Alliance reached Georgia in the feather of 1887, as soon as J. B. Wilkes, a former resident of Georgia, arranged several subordinate partnerships (as regional chapters to be called) in Troup County. By the finish of the year, Alliance members native seventeen counties met at ft Valley and formed the Georgia Farmers’ Alliance. The organization then thrived rapidly throughout the entire state. By the summer of 1890 it asserted 100,000 members in Georgia, with an ext than 1,000 members in every of the complying with counties: Carroll, Cherokee, Cobb, Emanuel, Forsyth, Franklin, Gwinnett, Hall, and Paulding.

The Farmers’ Alliance did not admit african Americans, however a different (though in many ways subordinate) fancy Farmers’ Alliance was formed in Texas in 1886. The colored Alliance got to Georgia by 1889 and held its very first state meeting in Macon one year later, yet it never ever reached the membership or affect of that is white counterpart. Most of the neighborhood chapters that the fancy Alliance organized in Georgia were dispersed through the state’s cotton belt.

Programs and also Politics

In maintaining with the organization’s focus on self-help, the Farmers’ Alliance established cooperative stores, cotton warehouses, and cotton gins. In 1889 the Georgia Alliance opened up a state participating exchange in Atlanta, which allowed members transparent the state to purchase farming supplies and also other staple products at discounted prices. Most of these participating enterprises succeeded briefly yet ultimately broke down due to opposition indigenous merchants and bankers and also a shortage the capital. The Georgia Alliance also led a successful boycott against the manufacturers of jute baling, i beg your pardon farmers provided to wrap their cotton, after ~ they raised prices sharply in 1888.


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The platform of the nationwide Farmers’ Alliance and also Industrial Union (the parent organization of the Georgia Alliance) contained demands for the free coinage that silver, a graduated earnings tax, the direct election that U.S. Senators, and also governmental ownership of the method of communication and transportation. In December 1889 leaders of the organization presented the subtreasury plan, which dubbed for the federal government to give farmers low-interest loans versus nonperishable crops, which were to it is in stored in government-built warehouses. Introduced in both dwellings of conference in February 1890, the invoice quickly came to be buried in committee, never to be enacted.

Subsequently, the Alliance began efforts come secure the nomination of democratic state and also congressional candidates that would support the organization’s needs in Georgia and across the South. In Georgia, which was then conquered by the autonomous Party, the Alliance aided elect six brand-new Democratic congressmen in 1890 (while securing pledges of assistance from the other four) and additionally elected the new governor, Hancock ar Alliance leader wilhelm J. Northen, and also a large majority of representatives in both dwellings of the state legislature.

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But the inaction the this “Alliance legislature” on such critical issues as taxation, the chop lien system, and the regulation that railroads and also out-of-state corporations persuaded many Alliance members that the democratic Party would never ever support the Alliance reform program. Therefore, choose their counterparts in plenty of other southerly states, Georgia Alliance members assisted launch the Populist Party in 1892. The rallies, camp meetings, and picnics that had constantly figured prominently in the Alliance movement ended up being a way of mobilizing pendant of the brand-new party. ~ above the other hand, plenty of in the Georgia Alliance—including branch Northen, U.S. Senator john B. Gordon, and Congressman Leonidas F. Livingston (president of the Georgia Alliance from 1888 until 1892)—refused to give up the autonomous Party and ultimately decided to give up the Alliance instead.