This book is the first devoted entirely to an examination of working-class activism, broadly defined as that of farmers’ organizations, labor unions, and (often biracial) political movements, in Arkansas during the Gilded Age. On one level, Hild argues for the significance of this activism in its own time: had the Arkansas Democratic Party not resorted to undemocratic, unscrupulous, and violent means of repression, the Arkansas Union Labor Party would have taken control of the state government in the election of 1888. He also argues that the significance of these movements lasted beyond their own time, their influence extending into the biracial Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union of the 1930s, the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, and even today’s Farmers’ Union and the United Mine Workers of America.
The story of farmer and labor protest in Arkansas during the late nineteenth century offers lessons relevant to contemporary
working-class Americans in what some observers have called the “new Gilded Age.”
A lauded contribution to historical sociology, Class and the Color Line is an analysis of social-movement organizing across racial lines in the American South during the 1880s and the 1890s. The Knights of Labor and the Populists were the largest and most influential movements of their day, as well as the first to undertake large-scale organizing in the former Confederate states, where they attempted to recruit African Americans as fellow workers and voters.
While scholars have long debated whether the Knights and the Populists were genuine in their efforts to cross the color line, Joseph Gerteis shifts attention from that question to those of how, where, and when the movements’ organizers drew racial boundaries. Arguing that the movements were simultaneously racially inclusive and exclusive, Gerteis explores the connections between race and the movements’ economic and political interests in their cultural claims and in the dynamics of local organizing.
Interpreting data from the central journals of the Knights of Labor and the two major Populist organizations, the Farmers’ Alliance and the People’s Party, Gerteis explains how the movements made sense of the tangled connections between race, class, and republican citizenship. He considers how these collective narratives motivated action in specific contexts: in Richmond and Atlanta in the case of the Knights of Labor, and in Virginia and Georgia in that of the Populists. Gerteis demonstrates that the movements’ collective narratives galvanized interracial organizing to varying degrees in different settings. At the same time, he illuminates the ways that interracial organizing was enabled or constrained by local material, political, and social conditions.
Over the last two decades, right-wing populist parties in Western Europe have gained sizable vote shares and power, much to the fascination and consternation of political observers. Meshing traditionalism and communitarian ideals, right-wing populist parties have come to represent a polar normative ideal to the New Left in Western Europe. In his dynamic study Cleavage Politics and the Populist Right, Simon Bornschier applies a cultural as well as political dimension to analyze the parties of both the right and left in six countries. He develops a theory that integrates the role of political conflict around both established cleavages and party strategies regarding new divisions to explain the varying fortunes of the populist right.
Since 2006, Venezuela has had the highest homicide rate in South America and one of the highest levels of gun violence in the world. Former president Hugo Chávez, who died in 2013, downplayed the extent of violent crime and emphasized rehabilitation. His successor, President Nicolás Maduro, has taken the opposite approach, declaring an all-out war on crime instead. What accounts for this drastic shift toward more punitive measures?
In Deadline, anthropologist Robert Samet answers this question by focusing on the relationship between populism, the press, and what he calls “the will to security.” Drawing on nearly a decade of ethnographic research alongside journalists on the Caracas crime beat, he shows how media shaped the politics of security from the ground up. Paradoxically, Venezuela’s punitive turn was not the product of dictatorship, but rather an outgrowth of practices and institutions normally associated with democracy. Samet reckons with this seeming contradiction by exploring the circulation of extra-legal denuncias (“accusations”) by crime journalists, editors, sources, and audiences. Denuncias are public shamings, which, instead of targeting individuals, channel popular anger against the perceived failures of ruling governments. A well-timed denuncia has the power to topple regimes and create the conditions of possibility for revolution. Deadline is a carefully woven story about the relationship between the press, popular outrage, and the politics of security in the twenty-first century.
Defender of the Faith
Lawrence W. Levine Harvard University Press, 1987 Library of Congress E664.B87L4 1987 | Dewey Decimal 973.910924
Nadia Urbinati Harvard University Press, 2014 Library of Congress JC423.U774 2014 | Dewey Decimal 321.8
In Democracy Disfigured, Nadia Urbinati diagnoses the ills that beset the body politic in an age of hyper-partisanship and media monopolies and offers a spirited defense of the messy compromises and contentious outcomes that define democracy.
Urbinati identifies three types of democratic disfiguration: the unpolitical, the populist, and the plebiscitarian. Each undermines a crucial division that a well-functioning democracy must preserve: the wall separating the free forum of public opinion from governmental institutions that enact the will of the people. Unpolitical democracy delegitimizes political opinion in favor of expertise. Populist democracy radically polarizes the public forum in which opinion is debated. And plebiscitary democracy overvalues the aesthetic and nonrational aspects of opinion. For Urbinati, democracy entails a permanent struggle to make visible the issues that citizens deem central to their lives. Opinion is thus a form of action as important as the mechanisms that organize votes and mobilize decisions.
Urbinati focuses less on the overt enemies of democracy than on those who pose as its friends: technocrats wedded to procedure, demagogues who make glib appeals to "the people," and media operatives who, given their preference, would turn governance into a spectator sport and citizens into fans of opposing teams.
During the mid-twentieth century, Latin American countries witnessed unprecedented struggles over the terms of national sovereignty, civic participation, and social justice. Nowhere was this more visible than in Peronist Argentina (1946–1955), where Juan and Eva Perón led the region’s largest populist movement in pursuit of new political hopes and material desires. Eduardo Elena considers this transformative moment from a fresh perspective by exploring the intersection of populism and mass consumption. He argues that Peronist actors redefined national citizenship around expansive promises of a vida digna (dignified life), which encompassed not only the satisfaction of basic wants, but also the integration of working Argentines into a modern consumer society. From the mid-1940s onward, the state moved to boost purchasing power and impose discipline on the marketplace, all while broadcasting images of a contented populace.
Drawing on documents such as the correspondence between Peronist sympathizers and authorities, Elena sheds light on the contest over the dignified life. He shows how the consumer aspirations of citizens overlapped with Peronist paradigms of state-led development, but not without generating great friction among allies and opposition from diverse sectors of society. Consumer practices encouraged intense public scrutiny of class and gender comportment, and everyday objects became freighted with new cultural meaning. By providing important insights on why Peronism struck such a powerful chord, Dignifying Argentina situates Latin America within the broader history of citizenship and consumption at mid-century, and provides innovative ways to understand the politics of redistribution in the region today.
The political and economic history of Latin America has been marked by great hopes and even greater disappointments. Despite abundant resources—and a history of productivity and wealth—in recent decades the region has fallen further and further behind developed nations, surpassed even by other developing economies in Southeast Asia and elsewhere.
In Left Behind, Sebastian Edwards explains why the nations of Latin America have failed to share in the fruits of globalization and forcefully highlights the dangers of the recent turn to economic populism in the region. He begins by detailing the many ways Latin American governments have stifled economic development over the years through excessive regulation, currency manipulation, and thoroughgoing corruption. He then turns to the neoliberal reforms of the early 1990s, which called for the elimination of deficits, lowering of trade barriers, and privatization of inefficient public enterprises—and which, Edwards argues, held the promise of freeing Latin America from the burdens of the past. Flawed implementation, however, meant the promised gains of globalization were never felt by the mass of citizens, and growing frustration with stalled progress has led to a resurgence of populism throughout the region, exemplified by the economic policies of Venezuela’sHugo Chávez. But such measures, Edwards warns, are a recipe for disaster; instead, he argues, the way forward for Latin America lies in further market reforms, more honestly pursued and fairly implemented. As an example of the promise of that approach, Edwards points to Latin America's giant, Brazil, which under the successful administration of President Luis Inácio da Silva (Lula) has finally begun to show signs of reaching its true economic potential.
As the global financial crisis has reminded us, the risks posed by failing economies extend far beyond their national borders. Putting Latin America back on a path toward sustained growth is crucial not just for the region but for the world, and Left Behind offers a clear, concise blueprint for the way forward.
Again and again, Latin America has seen the populist scenario played to an unfortunate end. Upon gaining power, populist governments attempt to revive the economy through massive spending. After an initial recovery, inflation reemerges and the government responds with wage an price controls. Shortages, overvaluation, burgeoning deficits, and capital flight soon precipitate economic crisis, with a subsequent collapse of the populist regime. The lessons of this experience are especially valuable for countries in Eastern Europe, as they face major political and economic decisions.
Economists and political scientists from the United States and Latin America detail in this volume how and why such programs go wrong and what leads policymakers to repeatedly adopt these policies despite a history of failure. Authors examine this pattern in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Peru—and show how Colombia managed to avoid it. Despite differences in how each country implemented its policies, the macroeconomic consequences were remarkably similar.
Scholars of Latin America will find this work a valuable resource, offering a distinctive macroeconomic perspective on the continuing controversy over the dynamics of populism.
The world is in turmoil. From India to Turkey and from Poland to the United States, authoritarian populists have seized power. As a result, Yascha Mounk shows, democracy itself may now be at risk.
Two core components of liberal democracy—individual rights and the popular will—are increasingly at war with each other. As the role of money in politics soared and important issues were taken out of public contestation, a system of “rights without democracy” took hold. Populists who rail against this say they want to return power to the people. But in practice they create something just as bad: a system of “democracy without rights.”
The consequence, Mounk shows in The People vs. Democracy, is that trust in politics is dwindling. Citizens are falling out of love with their political system. Democracy is wilting away. Drawing on vivid stories and original research, Mounk identifies three key drivers of voters’ discontent: stagnating living standards, fears of multiethnic democracy, and the rise of social media. To reverse the trend, politicians need to enact radical reforms that benefit the many, not the few.
The People vs. Democracy is the first book to go beyond a mere description of the rise of populism. In plain language, it describes both how we got here and where we need to go. For those unwilling to give up on either individual rights or the popular will, Mounk shows, there is little time to waste: this may be our last chance to save democracy.
Politics, Labor, and the War on Big Business details the rise, fall, and impact of the anticorporate reform effort in Arizona during the Progressive reform era, roughly 1890-1920. Drawing on previously unexamined archival files and building on research presented in his previous books, author David R. Berman offers a fresh look at Progressive heritage and the history of industrial relations during Arizona's formative period.
In the 1890s, once-heavily courted corporations had become, in the eyes of many, outside "money interests" or "beasts" that exploited the wealth of the sparsely settled area. Arizona's anticorporate reformers condemned the giant corporations for mistreating workers, farmers, ranchers, and small-business people and for corrupting the political system. During a thirty-year struggle, Arizona reformers called for changes to ward off corporate control of the political system, increase corporate taxation and regulation, and protect and promote the interests of working people.
Led by George W.P. Hunt and progressive Democrats, Arizona's brand of Progressivism was heavily influenced by organized labor, third parties, and Socialist activists. As highly powerful railroad and mining corporations retaliated, conflict took place on both political levels and industrial backgrounds, sometimes in violent form.
Politics, Labor and the War on Big Business places Arizona's experience in the larger historical discussion of reform activity of the period, considering issues involving the role of government in the economy and the possibility of reform, topics highly relevant to current debates.
How did we get into this mess? Every morning, many Americans ask this as, with a cringe, they pick up their phones and look to see what terrible thing President Trump has just said or done. Regardless of what he’s complaining about or whom he’s attacking, a second question comes hard on the heels of the first: How on earth do we get out of this?
Alan Wolfe has an answer. In The Politics of Petulance he argues that the core of our problem isn’t Trump himself—it’s that we are mired in an age of political immaturity. That immaturity is not grounded in any one ideology, nor is it a function of age or education. It’s in an abdication of valuing the character of would-be leaders; it’s in a failure to acknowledge, even welcome the complexity of government and society; and it’s in a loss of the ability to be skeptical without being suspicious. In 2016, many Americans were offered tantalizingly simple answers to complicated problems, and, like children being offered a lunch of Pop Rocks and Coke, they reflexively—and mindlessly—accepted.
The good news, such as it is, is that we’ve been here before. Wolfe reminds us that we know how to grow up and face down Trump and other demagogues. Wolfe reinvigorates the tradition of public engagement exemplified by midcentury intellectuals such as Richard Hofstadter, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Lionel Trilling—and he draws lessons from their battles with McCarthyism and conspiratorial paranoia. Wolfe mounts a powerful case that we can learn from them to forge a new path for political intervention today.
Wolfe has been thinking and writing about American life and politics for decades. He sees this moment as one of real risk. But he’s not throwing up his hands; he’s bracing us. We’ve faced demagogues before. We can find the intellectual maturity to fight back. Yes we can.
Populism and Performance in the Bolivarian Revolution of Venezuela explains how supporters of the emergent socialism of Hugo Chávez negotiated terms of national belonging and participatory democracy through performance. By foregrounding populism as an embodied act, Angela Marino draws attention to repertoires of populism that contributed to what is arguably the most significant social movement in the Americas since the Cuban Revolution.
Based on ethnographic and archival research, Marino focuses on performances of the devil figure, tracing this beloved trickster through religious fiestas, mid-century theater and film, and other media as it both antagonizes and unifies a movement against dictatorship and neoliberalism. She then demonstrates that performance became a vehicle through which cultural producers negotiated boundaries of inclusion and exclusion in ways that overcame the simplistic logic of good versus evil, us versus them. The result is a nuanced insight into the process of building political mobilization out of crisis and through monumental times of change.
The book will interest readers of Latin American politics, cultural studies, political science, and performance studies by providing a vital record of the revolution, with valuable insights into its internal dynamics and lessons towards building a populist movement of the left in contentious times.
Populism in Latin America
Michael L. Conniff University of Alabama Press, 1999 Library of Congress JL966.P66 1999 | Dewey Decimal 320.98
Populism in Latin America provides a lively, accessible, and up-to- date introduction to the fascinating populist leaders who dominated much of 20th-century Latin American politics.
From the earliest years in the La Plata region to the end of the 1990s, Latin American populists proved amazingly successful at gaining high office, holding onto power, maintaining their followings, and renewing their careers. They raised more campaign money, got more voters to the polls, and held followers' allegiances far better than traditional politicians. Certainly some populist leaders corrupted their countries, others manipulated their followers, and still others disgraced themselves. Nevertheless, populist leaders were extraordinarily effective in reaching masses of voters, and some left positive legacies for future generations. Populism in Latin America provides an in-depth and thought-provoking assessment of the most prominent of these colorful and charismatic leaders, whose impact has been profound yet not fully recognized.
Latin American scholars here survey the populist experiences in those nations most profoundly influenced by this distinctively Latin American way of conducting the public's business--Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Panama. Joel Horowitz, for example, examines Argentina's strong legacy of populism, beginning with the remarkable Hip-lito Yrigoyen, moving through the archetypal Juan and Evita Perón, and ending with still-active president Carlos Menem. Ximena Sosa-Buchholz provides a fascinating view of populism in Ecuador, a country often overlooked by students of modern politics. Kurt Weyland challenges the notion that neoliberal, or monetarist, economic policies are incompatible with populism. Other populist leaders profiled include Lazaro Cardenas, Romulo Betancourt, and Alberto Fujimori to name a few.
In his epilogue and bibliographic essay, volume editor Michael Conniff suggests new directions for further research and offers a comprehensive survey of the evolution of major writings, theories, and methodologies in the field.
This updated edition of Populism in Latin America discusses new developments in populism as a political phenomenon and the emergence of new populist political figures in Mexico, Argentina, and Venezuela in particular.
For more than one hundred years—from the beginning of the twentieth to the early twenty-first century—Latin American populists proved amazingly successful at gaining high office, holding on to power, maintaining their followings, and renewing their careers. They raised more campaign money, got more voters to the polls,and held followers’ allegiances far better than traditional politicians. Certainly some populist leaders were corrupt, others manipulated their followers, and still others disgraced themselves. Nevertheless, populist leaders were extraordinarily effective in reaching masses of voters, and some left positive legacies for future generations.
Populism in Latin America examines the notion of populism in the political and social culture of Latin American societies as expressed through the populist leaders of several Latin American countries including Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela. This second edition also includes a new preface by Kenneth M. Roberts, professor of comparative and Latin American politics and the Robert S. Harrison Director of the Institute for the Social Sciences at Cornell University.
Jorge Basurto / Michael L. Conniff / Paul W. Drake / Steve Ellner / Joel Horowitz /
Kenneth M. Roberts / W. Frank Robinson /Ximena Sosa / Steve Stein / Kurt Weyland
Mexican presidents Lázaro Cárdenas (1934–1940) and Luis Echeverría (1970–1976) used populist politics in an effort to obtain broad-based popular support for their presidential goals. In spite of differences in administrative plans, both aimed to close political divisions within society, extend government programs to those on the margins of national life, and prevent foreign ideologies and practices from disrupting domestic politics. As different as they were in political style, both relied on appealing to the public through mass media, clothing styles, and music.
This volume brings together twelve original essays that explore the concept of populism in twentieth century Mexico. Contributors analyze the presidencies of two of the century’s most clearly populist figures, evaluating them against each other and in light of other Latin American and Mexican populist leaders. In order to examine both positive and negative effects of populist political styles, contributors also show how groups as diverse as wild yam pickers in 1970s Oaxaca and intellectuals in 1930s Mexico City had access to and affected government projects.
The chapters on the Echeverría presidency are written by contributors at the forefront of emerging scholarship on this topic and demonstrate new approaches to this critical period in Mexican history. Through comparisons to Echeverría, contributors also shed new light on the Cárdenas presidency, suggesting fresh areas of investigation into the work of Mexico’s quintessentially populist leader. Ranging in approach from environmental history to labor history, the essays in this volume present a complex picture of twentieth century populism in Mexico.
Winner of the Albert J. Beveridge Award of the American Historical Association
“In this excellent study of Alabama politics, Hackney deftly analyzes the leadership, following, and essential character of Populism and Progressivism during the period from 1890 to 1910. The work is exceptionally well written; it deals with the personal, social, and political intricacies involved; and it combines traditional and quantitative techniques with a clarity and imagination that should serve as a spur and a model for many future studies.” – Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
“Whatever the ultimate judgment on its conclusions may be, this is an important study and one that should stimulate additional research.
“Hackney has very skillfully integrated his quantitative findings and the results of more traditional research. In this respect the book should for some time be a prime exhibit of the utility of the ‘new political history’ [and] we should receive Hackney’s contribution with both gratitude and admiration.” – Journal of Interdisciplinary History
Sheldon Hackney is a native Alabamian, and -- perhaps aptly -- the son-in-law of courageous Alabama progressives Virginia and Clifford Durr. A student of C. Vann Woodward at Yale, Hackney taught at Princeton University, served as president of Tulane University (1975-80) and the University of Pennsylvania (1981-1993). In 1993 he was appointed by President Clinton as chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, where he served until 1997. After his NEH service he returned to the University of Pennsylvania as Boies Professor of United States History.
Sarah E. Van De Vort Emery, a Michigan woman transplanted from the Finger Lakes region of New York, was for many years a voice for Populism in the late 19th century. Emery was a woman who believed and acted on her beliefs that freedom and the flowering of the human potential should not five way to the demands of the "money power."
Is Latin America experiencing a resurgence of leftwing governments, or are we seeing a rebirth of national-radical populism? Are the governments of Hugo Chávez, Evo Morales, and Rafael Correa becoming institutionalized as these leaders claim novel models of participatory and direct democracy? Or are they reenacting older traditions that have favored plebiscitary acclamation and clientelist distribution of resources to loyal followers? Are we seeing authentic forms of expression of the popular will by leaders who have empowered those previously disenfranchised? Or are these governments as charismatic, authoritarian, and messianic as their populist predecessors?
This new and expanded edition of Populist Seduction in Latin America explores the ambiguous relationships between democracy and populism and brings de la Torre’s earlier work up to date, comparing classical nationalist, populist regimes of the 1940s, such as those of Juan Perón and José María Velasco Ibarra, with their contemporary neoliberal and radical successors. De la Torre explores their similarities and differences, focusing on their discourses and uses of political symbols and myths.
Is Latin America experiencing a resurgence of leftwing governments, or are we seeing a rebirth of national-radical populism? Are the governments of Hugo Chávez, Evo Morales, and Rafael Correa becoming institutionalized as these leaders claim novel models of participatory and direct democracy? Or are they reenacting older traditions that have favored plebiscitary acclamation and clientelist distribution of resources to loyal followers? Are we seeing authentic forms of expression of the popular will by leaders who have empowered those previously disenfranchised? Or are these governments as charismatic, authoritarian, and messianic as their populist predecessors? This new and expanded edition of Populist Seduction in Latin America explores the ambiguous relationships between democracy and populism and brings de la Torre’s
earlier work up to date, comparing classical nationalist, populist regimes of the 1940s, such as those of Juan Perón and José María Velasco Ibarra, with their contemporary neoliberal and radical successors. De la Torre explores their similarities and differences, focusing on their discourses and uses of political symbols and myths.
Populist singer, Mid-Roader, editor, publisher, wife, mother of eleven, Luna Kellie was a well-informed, fervent member of the Farmers' Alliance movement in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Radicalized by railroad monopolies, corrupt government, recurring drought, heavy mortgages, and a desperate combination of rising costs and falling returns, prairie farmers were turning their energy toward raising "less corn and more hell."
Kellie actively sought to organize Nebraska into cooperatives and educate rural people about land, transportation, and money reform. Her compelling, often heartbreaking memoirs—written on the backs of ornate red-and-gold Farmers' Alliance certificates in 1925—give us her own description of how she became motivated to join the Alliance and participate in the Populist party. Kellie writes of her homesteading and political life from the age of eighteen to forty, of failed crops, mortgaged fields, intense hardships, and her devastation at the death of her children.
One of the most complete accounts of the Mid-Road political faction available, relevant in many ways to the plight of today's farmers, A Prairie Populist should be read by anyone with an interest in national politics, the farm protest movement, women's studies, and American cultural history.
Radicalism in the Mountain West, 1890-1920 traces the history of radicalism in the Populist Party, Socialist Party, Western Federation of Miners, and Industrial Workers of the World in Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico.
Focusing on the populist and socialist movements, David R. Berman sheds light on American radicalism with this study of a region that epitomized its rise and fall. As the frontier industrialized, self-reliant pioneers and prospectors transformed into wage- laborers for major corporations with government, military, and church ties. Economically and politically stymied, westerners rallied around homegrown radicals such as William "Big Bill" Haywood and Vincent "the Saint" St. John and touring agitators such as Eugene Debs and Mary "Mother" Jones. Radicalism in the Mountain West tells how volleys of strikes, property damage, executions, and deportations ensued in the absence of negotiation.
Drawing on years of archival research and diverse materials such as radical newspapers, reports filed by labor spies and government agents, and records of votes, subscriptions, and memberships, Berman offers Western historians and political scientists an unprecedented view into the region's radical past.
Politicians and political parties are for the most part limited by habit—they recycle tried-and-true strategies, draw on models from the past, and mimic others in the present. But in rare moments politicians break with routine and try something new.
Drawing on pragmatist theories of social action, Revolutionizing Repertoires sets out to examine what happens when the repertoire of practices available to political actors is dramatically reconfigured. Taking as his case study the development of a distinctively Latin American style of populist mobilization, Robert S. Jansen analyzes the Peruvian presidential election of 1931. He finds that, ultimately, populist mobilization emerged in the country at this time because newly empowered outsiders recognized the limitations of routine political practice and understood how to modify, transpose, invent, and recombine practices in a whole new way. Suggesting striking parallels to the recent populist turn in global politics, Revolutionizing Repertoires offers new insights not only to historians of Peru but also to scholars of historical sociology and comparative politics, and to anyone interested in the social and political origins of populism.
Righteous Indignation uncovers what motivated conservative, mostly middle-class southern farmers to revolt against the Democratic Party by embracing the radical, even revolutionary biracial politics of the People’s Party in the 1890s. While other historians of Populism have looked to economics, changing markets, or various ideals to explain this phenomenon, in Righteous Indignation, Joe Creech posits evangelical religion as the motive force behind the shift.
This illuminating study shows how Populists wove their political and economic reforms into a grand cosmic narrative pitting the forces of God and democracy against those of Satan and tyranny, and energizing their movement with a sacred sense of urgency. This book also unpacks the southern Protestants’ complicated approach to political and economic questions, as well as addressing broader issues about protest movements, race relations, and the American South.
In the late 1800s an unprecedented coalition of American farmers rose to challenge the course of national politics. Aspiring to a society in which justice and equality were the norm, the farmers galvanized thousands of voters, causing two dominant political parties to reshape their agendas. Yet by 1900, the movement was virtually dead. Scott G. McNall analyzes why America's largest mass-democratic movement failed. He focuses his inquiry on Kansas, the center of the agrarian rebellion that led to the creation of the Farmer's Alliance and, later, to the founding of the People's party. Integrating new historical accounts with original analyses of census data, Alliance membership records, and speech transcripts, McNall restores these Kansas voices, revealing their struggle against an entrenched class system, indifferent political parties, and economic hardship.
McNall rejects the traditional view that blames the failure of the Alliance on a turn to mass-based electoral politics, but rather sees the move into national politics by the Farmer's Alliance as part of a rational strategy to better wage their fight for economic justice. The Kansas populists failed, he argues, because of their inability to embrace a broad, working-class base, to provide an effective alternative vision, and ultimately to create a distinct class organization. Debates about how classes come into being, or how democracy is to be realized, cannot be settled in the abstract. McNall's recreation of this heroic struggle is a model in the analysis of class formation. At the same time, The Road to Rebellion is dynamic social history, which holds vital lessons for structuring and realizing alternative political agendas today.
Roots of Reform offers a sweeping revision of our understanding of the rise of the regulatory state in the late nineteenth century. Sanders argues that politically mobilized farmers were the driving force behind most of the legislation that increased national control over private economic power. She demonstrates that farmers from the South, Midwest, and West reached out to the urban laborers who shared their class position and their principal antagonist—northeastern monopolistic industrial and financial capital—despite weak electoral support from organized labor.
Based on new evidence from legislative records and other sources, Sanders shows that this tenuous alliance of "producers versus plutocrats" shaped early regulatory legislation, remained powerful through the populist and progressive eras, and developed a characteristic method of democratic state expansion with continued relevance for subsequent reform movements.
Roots of Reform is essential reading for anyone interested in this crucial period of American political development.
Although the radical populist movement that arose in Russia during the reign of Tsar Alexander II has been well documented, this important study opens with questions that haven’t yet been addressed: How did Russian radical populists manage to carry out a three-year campaign of revolutionary violence, killing or wounding scores of people, including top government officials, and eventually taking the life of the tsar himself? And how did this all occur under the noses of the tsar’s political police, who deployed vast resources and huge numbers of officials in an exhaustive effort to stop the killing?
In Underground Petersburg, Christopher Ely argues that the most powerful weapon of populist terrorism was the revolutionary underground it created. Attempts to convey populist ideals in the public sphere met with resistance at every turn. When methods such as propaganda campaigns and street demonstrations failed, populists created a sophisticated urban underground. Linked to the newly discovered weapon of terrorist violence, this base of operations allowed them to live undetected in the midst of the city, produce their own weaponry, and attempt to ignite an insurrection through violent attacks—putting terrorism on the map as a technique of political rebellion.
Accessible to non-specialists, this insightful study reinterprets radical populism, clarifying its crucial place in Russian history and elucidating its contribution to the history of terrorism. Underground Petersburg will appeal to scholars and students of Russia, as well as those interested in terrorism and insurrectionary movements, urban studies, and the sociology of subcultures.
The University and the People chronicles the influence of Populism—a powerful agrarian movement—on public higher education in the late nineteenth century. Revisiting this pivotal era in the history of the American state university, Scott Gelber demonstrates that Populists expressed a surprising degree of enthusiasm for institutions of higher learning. More fundamentally, he argues that the mission of the state university, as we understand it today, evolved from a fractious but productive relationship between public demands and academic authority.
Populists attacked a variety of elites—professionals, executives, scholars—and seemed to confirm academia’s fear of anti-intellectual public oversight. The movement’s vision of the state university highlighted deep tensions in American attitudes toward meritocracy and expertise. Yet Populists also promoted state-supported higher education, with the aims of educating the sons (and sometimes daughters) of ordinary citizens, blurring status distinctions, and promoting civic engagement. Accessibility, utilitarianism, and public service were the bywords of Populist journalists, legislators, trustees, and sympathetic professors. These “academic populists” encouraged state universities to reckon with egalitarian perspectives on admissions, financial aid, curricula, and research. And despite their critiques of college “ivory towers,” Populists supported the humanities and social sciences, tolerated a degree of ideological dissent, and lobbied for record-breaking appropriations for state institutions.