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The Farmers’ Alliance and the Grange really did not try to solve the problems of workers. These were organizations that were concerned with helping farmers, not industrial workers. The major problem that they perceived was the excessive power of big businesses (especially banks and railroads). They tried to solve those problems largely by trying to get the government to intervene.
In the time after the Civil War, farmers faced many problems. Chief among their problems were things caused by banks and railroads. Farmers typically needed to borrow money from the banks. This gave the banks tremendous power over them and they felt that the banks engaged in abusive practices that kept the farmers in debt. Farmers relied on railroads to get their crops to markets. Because they needed the railroads for survival, the railroads could charge them high prices for transporting their crops. This, too, felt like abuse.
The Grange and the Farmers’ Alliance tried a number of things to solve these problems. Their most important tactic was trying to get the government to intervene. They tried, for example, to get the government to regulate the rates that railroads could charge. They also tried to get the government to allow money to be coined from silver so that the money supply would increase and it would be easier to pay off their loans. In addition, the wanted the government to lend money to them at lower rates. In general, they were trying to get the government to make it so that the big businesses could not (in their minds) abuse them.
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