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The Grange movement could be considered a grassroots political movement because as a political movement it came from the bottom of the political ladder, the voters, rather from either political parties or special interest groups. The Grange actually began as a fraternal order devoted to educational gatherings to improve agricultural techniques in the South as well as social gatherings for farmers and their families. Following the Panic of 1873, the Grange began to become more politically active on behalf of the farmer trying to fight both low prices and discrimination by the railways. They also began to advocate such grassroots programs as farmer cooperatives and pooled savings groups to reduce dependence on institutions that were colluding to raise the charges paid by the farmers. This bottom to top movement did help change laws for farmers, particularly in the Midwest before merging with the Populist movement of the 1890's which had a more universal appeal.
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