PREFACE RAPID growth accompanied by a somewhat painful readjustment has been one of the leading characteristics of the history of the United States during the last half century. In the West the change has been so swift and spectacuIar as to approachMorePREFACE RAPID growth accompanied by a somewhat painful readjustment has been one of the leading characteristics of the history of the United States during the last half century. In the West the change has been so swift and spectacuIar as to approach a complete metamorphosis. With the passing of the frontier has gone something of the old freedom and the oId opportunity and the inevitable change has brought forth inevitable protest, particularly from the agricuItural class.
Simple farming communities have wakened to had themseIves complex industrial regions in which the farmers have frequently Iost their former preferred position. The result has been a series of radicaI agitations on the part of farmers determined to better their lot. These movements have manifested different degees of coherence and intelligence, but all have had something of the same purpose and spirit, and all may justly be considered as stages of the still unfinished agrarian crusade. This book is an attempt to sketch the course and to reproduce the spirit of that crusade from its inception with the Granger movement, through the Greenback and Populist phases, to a climax in the battle for free silver.
In the preparation of the chapters dealing with Populism I received invaluable assistance from my colleague, Professor Lester B. Shippee of the University of Minnesota and I am indebted to my wife for aid at every stage of the work, especially in the revision of the manuscript.THE AGRARIAN CRUSADE CHAPTER I THE INCEPTION OF THE GRANGE WHEN President Johnson authorised the Commissioner of Agriculture, in 1866, to send a clerk in his bureau on a trip through the Southern States to procure statisticaI and other informntion from those States, he could scarcely have foreseen that this trip would lead to a movement among the farmers, which, in varying forms, would affect the political and economic life of the nation for half a century.
The clerk selected for this mission, one Oliver Hudson Kelley, was something more than a mere collector of data and compiler of statistics he was a keen observer and a thinker. Kelley was born in Boston of a good Yankee family that couId boast kinship with Oliver Wendell Holmes and Judge Samuel Sewvall. At the age of twenty-three he journeyed to Iowa, where he married. Then with his wife he went on to Minnesota, settled in Elk River Township, and acquired some first-hand familiarity with agriculture.
At the time of KeIleys service in the agricultural bureau he was forty years oId, a man of dignified presence, with a fuII beard already turning white, the high broad forehead of a philosopher, and the eager eyes of an enthusiast. An engine with too much steam on all the time -so one of his friends characterized him and the abnormaI energy which he displayed on the trip through the South justifies the figure...