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The Populist Moment: A Short History of the Agrarian Revolt in America
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The Populist Moment: A Short History of the Agrarian Revolt in America

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  238 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
This condensed version of Lawrence Goodwyn's Democratic Promise, the highly-acclaimed study on American Populism which the Civil Liberties Review called "a brilliant, comprehensive study," offers new political language designed to provide a fresh means of assessing both democracy and authoritarianism today.
Paperback, 384 pages
Published November 1st 1978 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1978)
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Adam  McPhee
Jun 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In hierarchical societies, genuine democratic politics, when it appears, is hard to understand.

A fascinating look at an overlooked moment of American history.

Things I underlined on my kindle:

(view spoiler)
Jessica Prescott
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
In a word: No.

(sorry, fellas, that's all I got time for today)
Feb 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
According to Lawrence Goodwyn, the Populist movement of the late 1800s is difficult to understand because it was quite complicated. He tries to simplify it here and succeeds to some extent, but, well, it's complicated!

He starts his story in Texas where farmers are being overcharged by merchants and railroads, charged exorbitant interest rates by banks, and sometimes forced to sell crops at or below cost. A Farmers Alliance tries to resolve these issues, runs into the same problems and turns to p
Nov 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics, history
A very detailed history of the agrarian revolution that began in the south and spread into federal politics from farm alliances to a viable American political party that challenged the two establishment parties, and the dominance of capital itself.

In explaining the evolution of this movement, Goodwyn has much to teach us about the possibility, and the daunting challenges, of another people's movement.
Jul 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who like history
Shelves: history
Man, what could have been. This is a great look at the excitement and possibility of one of the most dynamic social movement in American, and how demagoguery and Southern Democratic race-baiting destroyed it.
Erhardt Graeff
May 05, 2017 rated it liked it
I must confess. I skipped to the end. Lawrence Goodwyn's history of America's Populist Movement in the late nineteenth century is an important contribution to our knowledge of social movements and American political theory. However, Goodwyn's storytelling fails to live up to contemporary standards of political history from favorites like Doris Kearns Goodwin and Robert A. Caro, or the fast-paced accounts of recent history from Michael Lewis. That's why after two chapters I skipped to the last on ...more
Jan 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Journal entry for October 11, 1993

Since I am running out of time, this will be a highly sketchy consideration of Goodwyn, to which I must later return and fill in details. It strikes me that Livingston is right to question that if Lawrence Goodwyn is right (about Populism being the last truly democratic movement in American history), how can we talk about the 20th Century? For Goodwyn, as Livingston observes, the Populists are more than just the "liberals' Lost Cause." The failure of Populism is
James Howard
Sep 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
I will warn people, this is a scholarly work and can be very dry. Although if you are like me, and knew nothing about the rise of Populism and the People's Party, please give it a read. There is so much more to the story than the five minutes that your history teacher may or may not have covered in class.
Jun 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
this is a good overview of the Populist movement of the 1880s and 90s in the United States, which was primarily poor farmers across the South and West being radicalized by the experience of unfair debt burdens being placed on them by the financial system. it was perhaps the largest mass movement in US history, yet today most of us barely know it existed.

the movement began through the "cooperative crusade," farmers coming together to try to sell their crops together rather than competitively, and
Scott Vann
Sep 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: u-of-m-textbooks
Goodwyn details the events that lead to the formation and movement known as the Farmer’s Alliance. He examines the origins of the party in the South and how it eventually took a national stage to become the National Farmer’s Alliance. Goodwyn also examines the “system” - the crop lien system and how it started a new method of “economic organization”. The devastation from the Civil War in the South, left farmers with no economic stabilization and left very little capital in the banks (Goodwyn, pp ...more
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“The problem that will doubtless interest future historians is not so much the presence, in the twentieth century, of mass political alienation, but the passivity with which the citizenry accepted that condition. It may well become known as the century of sophisticated deference.” 2 likes
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