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.