How did U.S. farmers and workers try to solve the problems they faced in the 1890s?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Of course, farmers and workers faced different problems and tried to solve them differently.  What they had in common was that they both tried to solve their problems through collective action and through politics.  By doing so, they tried to fight back against the power of the rich.

Both farmers and workers faced problems because of the power of the rich.  Farmers could be abused by railroads charging them high rates to carry their crops and by bankers charging them high interest rates.  Workers could be abused by the owners of factories who had them work in tough conditions for low pay.

Both workers and farmers tried collective action to ameliorate their conditions.  Workers tried to form unions and do things like going on strike to get better pay and conditions.  Farmers did things like joining the Grange and the Farmers’ Alliances.  Both groups also turned to political action.  Farmers were particularly attracted to the Populist Party in the 1890s.  They used this party to push for things like government control of utilities and for “free silver.”  The Populists also tried to attract workers but were less successful in doing so.  Workers pushed for things like greater regulation of businesses to ensure safe working conditions and better pay.

Thus, both farmers and workers tried to solve their problems in the late 1800s through collective action and politics.