Parties and Platforms


What were some of the political parties that dominated the landscape during the 1880s and 1890s?

Two parties were popular during this time frame: the Greenbacks, who were active between 1874 and 1884, and the Populists, who nominated a presidential candidate in 1892. The Greenbacks took their name from the paper money called “greenbacks” that was issued during the Civil War (1861–65). Made up of farmers who had been financially devastated by the Panic of 1873, the Greenbacks believed the government should issue larger amounts of money in an effort to help people, especially farmers, by raising prices and making their debts easier to pay. In the presidential election of 1876, the Greenbacks nominated inventor Peter Cooper; in 1880, they nominated former U.S. representative James B. Weaver of Iowa, who advocated a pro-agriculture agenda and the prohibition of alcohol.


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