Populist Revolt was first published in 1931. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
When The Populist Revolt was originally published, the New York Times critic called it "far and away the best account of populism that we have—and one not likely to be replaced." That prophecy proved right; the book has not been replaced, and historians and critics agree that it is the definitive work on its subject. Now it is made available once more, after being out of print for some time.
This is a history of the Farmers' Alliance and the People's Party, under whose banners a great crusade for farm relief was waged in the 1880's and 1890's. As important as the chronicle of the political movement itself is the detailed picture which Professor Hicks gives of the conditions which set the stage for this agrarian revolt. He describes the inequities and malpractices which beset both the new settlers of the West and the poverty-ridden whites and Negroes of the South following the Civil War.
The story of Populism itself is a lively one, people with such picturesque leaders as "Pitchfork" Ben Tillman of South Carolina, "Sockless" Jerry Simpson and Mary Elizabeth Lease—the "Patrick Henry in petticoats"—of Kansas, "Bloody Bridles" Waite of Colorado, Thomas E. Watson of Georgia, Dr. C. W. Macune of Texas, James B. Weaver of Iowa, and Ignatius Donnelly of Minnesota.
In these pages, Professor Hicks has, as Frederic L. Paxson pointed out, "presented the case for Populism better than the Populists themselves could do it." Henry Steele Commanger calls the book a "thorough, scholarly, sympathetic and spirited history of the entire Populist movement."