What was the biggest impact of the Populist movement?

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Arguably the biggest impact of the Populist movement was that it helped to lay the foundations of the Progressive Era.

It is notable that many of the demands made by the Populist movement, as seen in the policy program of the People's Party, came to be taken up by the Progressive movement, which in general had a much greater impact on domestic American politics.

Such demands included shorter working hours, the introduction of a federal income tax, and the direct election of senators. All of these demands would be fulfilled in due course, largely thanks to the tireless campaigning of the Progressive movement.

The Progressives were more successful than the Populists because they were able to gain influence in both the Democratic and Republican parties, giving them access to politicians such as Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, who could make things happen and implement the necessary changes they were demanding.

Although the People's Party achieved very little support among the electorate, there seems little doubt that its revolt against the social and political elites helped to put radical policies high on the political agenda.

In doing so, it helped to ensure that much of the spirit, if not the substance, of the Populist movement would become a significant part of American politics during the period of the Gilded Age and beyond.

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