How did the Farmers's Revolt during the latter part of the Gilded Age set the stage for the Progressive Movement?  

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The Farmers's Revolt around the turn of the 20th century was vital in establishing a baseline for human rights and business operations. The issues raised during this revolt would later help to usher in the new age of progressivism set forth by Theodore Roosevelt.

After the Civil War, farmers faced many challenges that the rest of the nation didn’t have to face. With railroads, steel, and other industries booming, the focus on farming and agriculture reduced, but it remained vital. This meant there was less investment in agriculture and fewer people cared to get into it.

On the other side, however, the increase in railroad price meant transportation costs for agricultural products became unsustainable. The ensuing revolt by the farmers established some demands for fairness, and equitable business practice meant protecting necessary businesses and the individual citizens they served. These principles were the foundation of what became Progressivism years later.

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Farmers were one of the groups that did not benefit from America's economic transformation in the late nineteenth century. Farmers and most other social classes did not make much economic progress until the twentieth century when Theodore Roosevelt launched what would become known as Progressivism.

Farmers had severe economic problems during the three decades before 1900. Commodity prices were low after the Civil War. Middlemen—such as railroads and warehouses—charged farmers too much to store and bring their harvests to market. Also, many farmers became seriously indebted.

Farmers organized in an effort to meet their needs. The Grange was a farmer-owned cooperative that advocated for legislation that would regulate middlemen. Farmers' Alliances were also important. They published newspapers and sent speakers around the country, so that the public would become aware of farmers' plight.

By 1890, frustrated farmers were directly involved in politics. The Populist party fought for farmers and other groups that had suffered during the Gilded Age. Although their candidate lost the presidential election of 1892, the Populists had won offices at the state level.

Finally, after 1900, however, farmers did obtain some relief. For instance, Theodore Roosevelt, president from 1901 to 1909, brought suit against a large railroad monopoly. Farmers had long fought for this kind of action against railroads.

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The Gilded Era was a period of rapid economic expansion and industrialization in America. The Era ushered in migration of people from Europe to America, because of the improving economy and job availability. Pay rates for skilled workers was higher in America as compared to Europe. The period also saw extensive growth in agriculture: the value and number of farms grew exponentially. The growth of farming was, however, met with considerable challenges. The farmers were suffering financially because of a series of drops in world prices for their commodities. The farmers were also being affected by a surplus of middlemen, monopoly with regards to railway transport and exorbitant warehousing. Due to their plight, the farmers protested. Their protest formed part of the basis for the progressive movement which was aimed at removing some of the impediments that affected American society. The farmers’ struggle with regards to wealth distribution and better management of the agricultural sector was among the important drivers of the progressive movement.

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The Farmers' Revolt is often referred to as the populist movement.  It set the stage for the Progressive Movement by advancing the idea that the big businesses needed to be reined in.

During the Farmers' Revolt, farmers criticized big businesses (like banks and railroads) for using their size to abuse the "little guy."  The Progressives would later (in the early 1900s) pick this narrative up and expand on it.  They would look at ways that the big businesses were exploiting not just farmers but also workers and the environment.  The Progressives, then, picked up on the anti-big business message of the Populists and expanded it during the Progressive Era.

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